Man accused of lesbian's murder loses bid to have charges dropped

2017-11-30 22:27
Signice Mdani, accused of the kidnap and murder of Cape Town woman Noluvo Swelindawo, appears in court. (File: Jenni Evans, News24)

Signice Mdani, accused of the kidnap and murder of Cape Town woman Noluvo Swelindawo, appears in court. (File: Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town – There was jubilation on Thursday when the Western Cape High Court dismissed an application to have charges dropped against the man accused of the kidnap and murder of Cape Town resident Noluvo Swelindawo. 

"Jou bliksem!" a woman shouted at Sigcine Mdani after Judge Derek Wille handed down his judgment following the discharge application.

"Make them tighter!" shouted another woman as Mdani was shackled to be taken back to jail until his trial resumed on Monday.

Mdani's lawyer, Advocate Sheriff Mohamed, had applied for a discharge in terms of section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act. 

READ: Man accused of lesbian's murder wants case dropped

This section allows the defence to make an application after the State closes its case if it believes the State has no credible prima facie evidence against an accused.

In handing down judgment on the application Wille said: "There is simply nothing advanced by Mr Mohamed to even remotely suggest that the evidence presented by the witnesses who testified on behalf of the State is of such a bad or poor quality that no reasonable person could accept it."

Swelindawo was found dead on December 4, 2016, near a footbridge connecting Driftsands and Khayelitsha, east of Cape Town.

She had been kidnapped from her shack in Sophakama, Driftsands, hours earlier while her girlfriend Nqabisa Mkatali hid next to the bed. 

Mdani was arrested the next day.

Fears that sexuality was a factor in killing

The court has heard that before her death she and Mdani had got into a fight at a party.

Swelindawo had also shown her brother, Bonga, a picture of her swollen face, telling him Mdani was responsible. 

Before her death, Bonga got into a brawl with Mdani and Mdani's parents when he went to find out what had happened to his sister. 

READ: Court hears of how murder-accused's parents were allegedly attacked

With fears that Swelindawo was targeted because she identified as lesbian having surfaced, the Triangle Project, a nonprofit organisation focusing on the human rights of LGBTI people, has been monitoring proceedings.

Triangle Project health officer Sharon Cox said she was relieved that the trial would continue.

She added that she was looking forward to hearing Mdani's testimony as Swelindawo's supporters sang and drummed in the background. 

The trial resumes on Monday. 

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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