4 men convicted of killing Khayelitsha woman, hiding body in drain

2016-12-07 18:59
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Cape Town - Four men have been found guilty in the Western Cape High Court of killing a Khayelitsha woman and hiding her body in a drain.

Bongiwe Ninini, 20, died in July 2015 after she was strangled, taken to an open field, assaulted, hit with a spade and probably a beer bottle as well.

The court found on Tuesday that Phumulani Nyewu, Masimthembe Solontsi, Melikhaya Mgushelo and Thabiso Balithoba had acted together, with a clear intention of killing her.

All but Mgushelo were linked via DNA to pieces of evidence.

Mgushelo was found to have actively associated himself with the crimes by remaining silent.

They were not found guilty of kidnapping as there was no direct evidence that she was deprived of freedom of movement and kept against her will.

Left body in drain

The murder conviction follows the killings of several young women in the area over the past year.

Nyewu had testified that he and Ninini dated about two years before she was killed.

He said she had still visited him from time to time after they broke up.

The night of her murder, they apparently argued about visiting him, as he did not want a possible confrontation with another woman he was expecting.

It was his version that Solontsi had strangled her in his room, and was assisted by Mgushelo and Balithoba to carry her outside. He claimed he only helped them roll her in a sheet and had left her alive in a cement drain.

Balithoba claimed that he saw Nyewu and Solontsi kill her in the room. He testified that he was coerced into the events that followed because he was scared of them.

Solontsi denied having any part in the murder. Mgushelo did not testify in his defence.

Killers to be sentenced next year

The court found that their lies were designed to distance themselves from the crimes or clothe their conduct with innocent motives.

The men would return to court on February 6 for sentencing procedures.

On Monday, another Khayelitsha woman’s body was found in a public toilet. A suspect was set to appear in court on Thursday.

In a separate incident, Khayelitsha resident Noluvo Swelindawo, 22, was found shot dead on a footbridge near the Driftsands Nature Reserve. It was suspected that she was killed because she was lesbian.

On March 2 this year, 19-year-old Sinoxolo Mafevuka was found naked and strangled in a communal toilet in SST Block, Town Two, Khayelitsha. Her boyfriend’s two cousins were arrested for the crime. They are awaiting trial on charges of rape and murder.

Read more on:    cape town  |  gay rights  |  crime

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