Mother of dead KZN jogger 'disgusted' with justice system

2016-04-07 08:50
Mcabango Hlongwa appeared in the Hew Hanover Magistrate’s Court. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

Mcabango Hlongwa appeared in the Hew Hanover Magistrate’s Court. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg – Thuli Zuma felt sick to her stomach when Magistrate Mishy Singh handed down a sentence at Pietermaritzburg Regional Court on Tuesday to the drunk driver who knocked down and killed her daughter. 

Overcome by emotion, she could not believe that Mcabango Hlongwa, who had brutally killed her daughter, would only serve 10 years in jail.

Hlongwa, 37, was sentenced to jail for knocking down Sithabile Mkhasibe, 27, and her boyfriend, Xolani Nxele, 31, when he lost control of his car on a district road in Dalton, outside Pietermaritzburg, in February.

The couple, both engineers, had been jogging with another runner when Hlongwa's vehicle struck them. The other jogger escaped unharmed.

After hitting the two joggers, Hlongwa drove over Nxele’s body, which had been flung from the bonnet of the car. Nxele died as a result of his injuries.

Dumped body in field

Hlongwa drove with Mkhasibe’s body on the windscreen and then discarded her remains in a sugar cane field in Dalton. She was found four days later.

Hlongwa reportedly received two sentences of five years for causing the death of each of the joggers, 12 months for driving his Honda Ballade while under the influence, and three months for defeating the ends of justice for hiding Mkhasibe's body.

The drunk driving and defeating the ends of justice sentences would run concurrently with the culpable homicide sentences.

Zuma, from Mooi River, said after Singh handed down the sentence Hlongwa raised his hand and asked if he could compensate the family.

“I looked at him with disgust and asked myself how much would he compensate me for my daughter’s life because no amount of money would ever bring her back.

“Ten years is nothing, this is a slap on the face. I am disgusted in South Africa’s justice system.”

Challenge the sentence

Zuma said she was conflicted on whether she should pursue getting legal advice to challenge the sentence.

“People are advising me to let it go and leave up to God, I know challenging the outcomes will not bring her back but I am just so angry.

“A rapist can get 16 years but this guy gets five years for taking away a life. Maybe I do not understand how justice works if a person can get 10 years for doing such a horrible thing.”

The 52 year-old woman was convinced that Hlongwa had visited a traditional healer to assist him with the case.

“How else do I explain it? My daughter was missing for four days.

“I cringed when I read the post-mortem report that she had a fractured skull. My cousin who washed and prepared her body for burial said she had a cut from the right to the left ear. She also had broken bones in her legs.”

Zuma said by the time her daughter was buried on March 6, she was partially decomposed.

“We couldn’t even get fingerprints.”

Zuma said in the weeks leading up to the death it was like her daughter knew she was going to die.

Made mother happy

“She came back from the Eastern Cape and she used the money from the internship to buy tiles and she fixed so many things in the house, she did so much to make me happy. It was like she knew that something was going to happen.”

She said she it would take a long time to forgive Hlongwa.

“I hate him. They had such bright futures and he took all of that away. I will do anything to make sure that we get proper justice.”

Zuma said her family was robbed of a bright young woman.

“He is going to sit in there [jail] and forget what happened; I will never forget.”

Zuma said she had returned to work at Esiphethwini Sendiza Primary School in Nottingham Road in Howick, where she is a teacher, just to forget what happened.

“When I am at home the memories flood back and I am not able to deal with the stress. At least here I am able to keep busy,” she said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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