Charges dismissed against 3 men accused of murdering Zanele Sandlana

2018-06-27 22:40
Friends and family of Zanele Sandlana protested outside the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday. (Phatiswa Shushwana, GroundUp)

Friends and family of Zanele Sandlana protested outside the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday. (Phatiswa Shushwana, GroundUp)

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Several dozen Khayelitsha residents, many of them friends and family of Zanele Sandlana, marched from Esangweni Secondary School in Kuyasa to the Khayelitsha Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, where the three men accused of Sandlana's murder were appearing.

"We are here today to demand justice for Zanele. We are here to demand that her killers be punished," Mandisi Sindelo, one of the march leaders told GroundUp.

Sandlana was murdered in 2017 at the age of 21. She was last seen alive by her family on September 2 when she left to attend a friend's party in Site B, Khayelitsha.

Her body was discovered the next day dumped in an open space in TR section, Site B. She was lying face down, stripped of her clothes. She had been raped, burnt – probably to destroy evidence – and had a bottle stuffed in her mouth.

Sandlana was a mother of a young girl. She was also a performing artist. Members of Theatre for Change, an organisation that tries to empower women using drama, as well as members of Future Line Arts supported Tuesday's protest.

Three men aged from their mid 20s to mid 30s – Masixole Scott, Luthando Mposelwa and Bonani Zeleni — were arrested in October 2017 for her rape and murder.

Eyewitness News reported at the time that Khayelitsha's Harare community policing forum said their arrests had restored the community's faith in the police.

Mother distraught

In an article in the Cape Times on October 23, South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said: "Crimes against women and children top the SAPS agenda. Police will not rest until those responsible are removed from society."

The trio made their first court appearance in the Khayelitsha Magistrate's Court on that day. The case was postponed to October 30.

The three men were later granted R1 000 bail each. They appeared in the Khayelitsha Magistrate's Court again on Tuesday but the case was dismissed due to insufficient evidence.

Sandlana's mother was distraught and left the court immediately.

The outcome left some of the protesters who had been standing outside in tears.

Two protesters who spoke to GroundUp criticised the police investigation and the court.

One (who wished to remain anonymous) claimed that one of the men had told someone known to her that they had done it.

Protesters felt that Sandlana and her family had been denied justice, despite Rwexana's words.

Read more on:    cape town  |  gender violence

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