Man accused of lesbian's murder wants case dropped

2017-11-29 18:43
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 - The man accused of the kidnap and murder of Cape Town woman Noluvo Swelindawo is to apply to have the charges against him dropped for lack of evidence, the Western Cape High Court was told on Wednesday.

Defence advocate for Sigcine Mdani, who has pleaded not guilty to five charges emanating from the death of Swelindawo in December last year, dropped this bombshell after the State closed its case.

"I am thinking of a [section] 174 [discharge application] and need time to prepare my submission," his advocate, Sheriff Mohamed, told the court.

Failing to make out a case

In such an application, an accused usually alleges that the State failed to make out a case.

The application has been made in high-profile cases, such as the case against President Jacob Zuma before he was acquitted of rape, former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi before he was found guilty of corruption, and Briton Shrien Dewani when he was accused of the murder of his wife Anni while on honeymoon in Cape Town.

Dewani's application was successful.

In Mdani's case, Mohamed tried to push for the application to be heard next year after the court recess. However, he was given until 11:00 on Thursday to prepare.

Mdani allegedly kidnapped Swelindawo from her shack in Sophakama, near Driftsands, in December 2016.

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

Her girlfriend, Nqabisa Mkatali, hid in a gap between the bed and the shack wall when Swelindawo was taken.

A police van, which was called to help find Swelindawo, never arrived. Her girlfriend was among the people that walked around looking for her.

Swelindawo's body was found hours later on December 4, 2016, near a footbridge in Driftsands that crosses the N2 to Khayelitsha.

She had been shot and a 9mm bullet casing was found on the scene.

Mdani, who worked at a car wash in the area, was arrested on December 5, and charged with assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, housebreaking with intent to kidnap, kidnapping, murder, possession of a firearm, and possession of ammunition.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Swelindawo's death instilled fear in the local LGBTI community, who were worried that she may have been killed for being open about identifying as a lesbian.

A heated fight

Before the State closed its case against Mdani on Wednesday, the court heard further details of the massive fight at his parents' house before Swelindawo was killed.

The court has heard that, after hearing that Mdani may have hit Swelindawo at a party preceding the kidnapping, her brother Bonga went to his parents' house to confront him. 

"Your son can't assault my sister" is what Bonga allegedly told the Mdanis, according to Mohamed.

But Mdani's parents, Neliswa and Sonwabo, said their son was not home and pushed him out of the house. 

He marched home and fetched a knobkerrie and, when he returned to the Mdani home, a physical fight ensued.

Mdani arrived home and allegedly took a knife out of a kitchen drawer and stabbed Bonga.

Neighbours intervened but, by then, Bonga had been stabbed in the face and Mdani's parents had to go to hospital for stitches. Bonga did not seek medical treatment and denied he assaulted Mdani's parents. 

"I deny because we were fighting. They were also assaulting me," the court heard.

On Wednesday, Mohamed told Bonga that, according to Mdani's parents, Bonga did not go to their home alone. 

He actually arrived with a stick that looked like the wooden part of a pick axe and had brought along a friend who was carrying a bottle of Savannah cider. 

The friend also helped himself to the Mdanis' DVD player and sound system, sipping at his Savannah, as the fight raged around him, submitted Mohamed.

During the confrontation, Bonga was told that his sister had accused Mdani of being a thief, Mohamed continued, as he read the accused's parents' statement.

They also claimed that Bonga broke two windows at their home, leaving them a further R300 out of pocket.

Mohamed added that the Mdanis were still confused about why the case against Bonga, which related to that incident, was withdrawn.

The trial continues on Friday.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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