THE lover of Nelson Mandela Bay businessman Michael Rothenburg, who was brutally murdered in his beachfront flat three months ago, has been sentenced to a total of 15 years’ imprisonment after confessing to the killing.
Sibusiso Saul Plaatjies, 30, who used "Jackson” as an alias to sign in at The Beaches in Humewood where Rothenburg lived, was arrested in May after detectives tracked him down to Fort Beaufort.
Days after the April murder, Plaatjies was identified as the prime suspect when forensic experts found his bloody fingerprints at the crime scene.
Plaatjies pleaded guilty in the Port Elizabeth Regional Court recently and was sentenced to 12 years for murder and an additional three years for stealing clothes and valuables from the flat.
Two years of the sentence for theft will run concurrently with the murder sentence.
In his confession, Plaatjies said the murder followed a heated argument with Rothenburg, who was in his 60s.
Police spokesman Captain Stanley Jarvis said that according to the confession the argument spiralled out of control, resulting in a physical brawl.
"According to Plaatjies, Rothenburg threw a speaker across the room at him before storming out the bedroom to the kitchen. Minutes later, he returned with a bottle of vodka,” he said.
"The argument intensified and a physical scuffle ensued, resulting in Plaatjies pushing Rothenburg on to the bed.
"Plaatjies then jumped on top of him and grabbed a knife that was on the bedside table. He stabbed [Rothenburg] several times in the neck and body.”
Plaatjies fled, leaving behind a half-written bloody note which said: "I have been his bitch for 9 years and it is enough. I am sorry Mike.”
Police were alerted hours after the murder when security guards at The Beaches confronted Plaatjies as he tried to leave in Rothenburg’s car. He left the car and fled on foot.
Police found Rothenburg’s body lying under a duvet in a pool of blood next to the bed. He was still gagged. Plaatjies was arrested at a relative’s house in Fort Beaufort two months after the murder.
After his arrest, Plaatjies admitted to having been in a relationship with Rothenburg.