Residents unwilling to testify, court hears in Sinoxolo case

2016-05-19 19:00
Sinoxolo Mafevuka. (Thulani Gqirana, News24)

Sinoxolo Mafevuka. (Thulani Gqirana, News24)

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Cape Town - Police have blamed the lack of formal statements in their investigation into the rape and murder of Sinoxolo Mafevuka on the unwillingness of locals to testify, the Khayelitsha Magistrate's Court heard on Thursday.

Investigating officer Constable Isaac Tshabalala was responding to the lack of affidavits from witnesses, when asked by defence lawyer Thabo Nogemane for written evidence that the two men accused of killing the teenager had raped before.

"There is a problem in our area," Tshabalala responded during cross-examination in the duo’s bail bid.

"People don’t like the court. They are skeptical about issuing statements, knowing at some stage they need to testify."

Tshabalala previously testified that the men used to live in BM section, but had been chased away.

Residents apparently told police they knew the men and that they had left the area after they were accused of a previous rape.

He said the raped woman, whose identity they knew, had never opened a case.

She was apparently paid R5 000 to "settle the case".

Tshabalala said a friend of the two accused gave a statement in which he claimed to have seen the men raping an unknown woman late one weekend while the shacks were still under construction.

While he could not remember the date, the man said he saw the first accused throw a brick into the back of a woman's head. She fell to the ground.

The witness claimed she was dragged to a shack. There she was raped, while the men allegedly took turns at keeping watch, before running away. 

Case postponed

According to the pathologist’s report, Mafevuka was killed due to "compression of the neck structure".

Her body showed no signs of physical harm when she was found slumped naked over a communal toilet. Her clothes had been stuffed into the cistern.

An eyewitness last week approached police and gave a statement in which he claimed to have seen the two accused – cousins of Mafevuka’s boyfriend - dragging the 19-year-old towards the ablution facilities where her body was later found.

He said he knew both men, who were from the area. The witness said he had been returning from a local tavern at 00:30 on March 2 and was walking to a garage near SST Block in Town Two, when he heard a woman scream.

He hid himself behind shacks but said he had a clear view of what was happening because there was a light close by. 

No semen or foreign DNA – other than an unusable partial sample – was found at the scene.

The two suspects, aged 21 and 26, were arrested two weeks after the 19-year-old's body was found.

Magistrate Xolani Menyiwe postponed the matter to June 1.

Read more on:    police  |  sinoxolo mafevuka  |  cape town  |  crime

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