Dying teacher’s last effort

2016-11-16 06:00

AS she lay dying after being brutally attacked, Cebisile Happiness Khoza tried to write a cellphone number on the dry ground where she had been left.
The victim, who taught at Ncgida High School in Muden, had been stabbed many times and then doused with petrol and set alight.

On trial for her murder is her boyfriend and teaching colleague, Siyamamkela Odwa Nompumza, who has pleaded not guilty.
He said on 7 May, 2015 he had dropped Khoza off at a hair salon in Greytown and that was the last time he had seen her because when he gone to pick her up the salon was closed and he was unable to contact her.
In his statement Nompumza said he had looked for her, but could not find her. The following day he had filed a missing person’s report at Greytown Police Station.

However, the state alleges that a love triangle was the motive behind the killing as the victim was also involved with a man from Ladysmith and that the accused, on finding this out, was angry and had decided to kill Khoza. The state claimed that on the night of 7 May he drove the victim to an isolated spot on the farm Boiling Fountain in Dalton where he allegedly stabbed her, doused her with petrol and set her alight – she died of 40 to 50% burns and stab wounds in the lungs.

The investigating officer, Warrant Officer Moses Ndawonde, told High Court Judge Nkosinathi Chili, that the police had initially not been able to identify Khoza, but the numbers “071” were written alongside her and the officer said he had assumed she had tried to write a cell number as she lay dying.
An empty two-litre cool-drink bottle that smelt of petrol, and which contained a small amount of the fuel, was found at the scene.

At the post-mortem in Greytown the Warrant Officer said he had heard from a colleague that a teacher had filed a missing person’s report on 8 May. He then traced Nompumza and was able to identify the victim.
Warrant Officer Ndawonde said the accused had been very co-operative at the start of the investigation and he had not suspected him of any involvement in the killing.
But as Nompumza was the last person to see Khoza alive his fingerprints were taken.
On 1 June Warrant Officer Ndawonde was informed by the SAPS local criminal record centre that a fingerprint found on the two-litre cool-drink bottle matched Nompumza’s, who was then arrested.

The accused’s defence advocate J. du Plessis suggested that the couple had been together when they bought the two-litre cool drink found at the murder scene and had taken it to a soccer game at the Harry Gwala Stadium and that Khoza had taken what was left in the bottle with her to the salon.

On Wednesday 9 November, when the case was due to resume, the accused did not appear in court and Judge Chili was handed a medical certificate by Advocate Du Plessis indicating­ that Nompumza had been taken ill and was not fit to attend the trial for the rest of the week.

Judge Chili provisionally cancelled Nompumza’s bail of R10 000, and issued a warrant for his arrest, but ordered that the warrant should not be executed before 24 February, 2017 which is the date set for the next hearing.
The judge said on that date the court would determine whether Nompumza’s absence on 9 November was justified.

The state alleges that a love triangle was the motive behind the killing as the victim was also involved with a man from Ladysmith and that the accused, on finding this out, was
angry and had decided to kill Khoza

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