Mom tells of the night her daughter was killed

2015-05-23 08:20
A picture of Philiswa Zunga who received certificate of excellence at her school earlier this year. (Joe Stolley, News24)

A picture of Philiswa Zunga who received certificate of excellence at her school earlier this year. (Joe Stolley, News24)

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Tongaat - It never crossed her mind that the two men who had burst into her rondavel with long knives on the night of March 4 wanted to kill her seven-year old daughter.

Mbali Zungu, 25, believed that the girl’s father Thokozani Ngidi had sent the two men to her home in Nsuze, outside Tongaat to take her daughter Philiswa.

Five minutes later, a neighbour found little Philiswa’s body. She had been stabbed 40 times, disembowelled and her throat had been slit.

“I went towards the body and I could see the intestines from the stomach wounds. There was also blood on her neck, there was a huge cut on her neck.”

Initially the two men had arrived earlier asking for information about someone who had a lorry that transported sand. Mbali and her family were unable to help the two men, who then left.

The family had eaten and were all watching television when the men returned.

“They said nobody can go out. Show me Thokozani’s baby. Philiswa said 'It’s me, Thokozani’s baby.'

"Then this man said ‘We going to bring her back alive. We don’t kill her.’"

Mbali said she thought it was the father of her child, Thokozani Ngidi, who wanted to take her daughter from her.

The men then left with Philiswa, locking the door and leaving the women and children behind.

Searching for little girl

“We were crying and screaming in the house, so we didn’t hear Philiswa. Even if she was crying, we wouldn’t have heard it," Mbali said. 

First an aunt and then Mbali climbed through a window and went running to the road in a bid to see where the men had gone with Philiswa.

At the roadside they saw nothing and a neighbour came to help them in their search for the little girl.

As they walked back to the rondavels, it was then that the neighbour came across Philiswa’s mutilated body.

“I didn't think Philiswa was dead. I thought she was maybe going to wake again, but I didn’t see how much she was injured.”

The next day Philiswa’s father arrived.

“He only stayed for 15 or 20 minutes. He didn't ask anything. He was not sad and he was tapping his feet all the time. I thought he knew something.”

By that Saturday on March 7, Ngidi was already in police custody.

“I remember when we went to the mortuary there were stab wounds everywhere. They just stabbed every part of her body," Mbali said. 

Later Philiswa was buried near the homestead. Her grave is on the side of a hill behind the  the five or six rondavels.

Too poor to afford a headstone, the family have placed the branches of thorn bush trees on top of the grave to prevent dogs and other animals from digging it up. 

In early May, police arrested Simosakhe Ngcobo in connection to Philiswa's murder. 

He was on Friday sentenced to 25 years imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to a murder charge. 

Before his appearance in the Durban High Court an identity parade was held at the police station in Kwadukuza (Stanger).

“I thought that I wasn't going to be able to recognise him but when I went in for the identity parade, I saw that that was the man that knocked on the door.”

Mbali’s younger sister Zama also positively identified Ngcobo at the ID parade.

I was afraid

“I was very sure it was him. I was afraid, but I was sure,” said Zama.

Mbali said she did not know what the motive for her daughter’s killing was. She and Ngidi had parted ways almost five years earlier.

“Our relationship was okay. We used to fight a lot about the child. He was possessive. There were times that I would ask if I could see her and he would ignore me. Sometimes he would just pitch up with her without telling me. He did as he pleased.”

On the same day that Ngcobo was being sentenced, Mbali went to the Nsuze Periodic Court to see Ngidi indicted for the murder of their child.

His case was postponed to July 29 when he is expected to appear in the Durban High Court.

Mbali said she plans to attend the court proceedings. 

Asked what she would like to see happen to the father of her child, she initially said only one word: “Dead.” But then she corrects herself. “I will only be happy when he gets a life sentence because he is very, very dangerous.”

Read more on:    durban  |  crime

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