Shouting, kisses as Sinoxolo Mafevuka’s alleged killers return to Khayelitsha

2017-05-22 18:07
Xolisa and Athabile Mafilika returned to Khayelitsha on Monday as part of their rape, murder trial. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Xolisa and Athabile Mafilika returned to Khayelitsha on Monday as part of their rape, murder trial. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town – Khayelitsha residents had mixed reactions on Monday when two cousins accused of raping and killing Sinoxolo Mafevuka returned to the area where her body was found last year.

Members of the police’s Tactical Response Team brought Xolisa and Athabile Mafilika into Town Two in shackles, as part of an inspection in loco by the Western Cape High Court.

Around 50 fed-up residents, mostly women and children, were waiting with placards.

The signs stated 'enough is enough' and 'we will not be silent'. The group also followed the men and sang "rapists in the area worry us".

At one point, the officers had to push the crowd back.

However, some residents and old neighbours greeted the men fondly. They noted that the men had picked up weight in prison.

One woman standing a distance away asked that the accused be given a kiss for her. Another brought a pitcher of water to the men for them to drink.

The cousins pleaded not guilty to raping and strangling Mafevuka on March 2, 2016, when their trial began last week.

Her body was found slumped over a toilet in a communal ablution block in SST Block, Town Two.

Western Cape High Court Judge Taswell Papier recently agreed to a request to visit the area after the defence lawyers raised questions about the lighting and conditions of the crime scene.

sinoxolo accused
Group of fed-up residents gathered to watch proceedings. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Accompanying the convoy was Constable Nomampondomise Gobodo, the State’s first witness, who was the first officer to arrive at the toilets.

It emerged on Monday that the location and alignment of the toilets had shifted since the murder. The houses to one side had also changed position.

The convoy had to walk down a slope to get to the empty patch of sand, which was mingled with broken glass and discarded pieces of rubbish. 

A new fence had been erected on the one side and residents used it to hang some washing to dry.

Curious residents stood behind the police tape with their children and took photos as Papier asked questions.

Gobodo pointed to the two tall lighting posts on both sides of the toilet block. A man with a surveyor's wheel calculated the distance and reported that the one was about 130m away, while the other was about 150m away.

The convoy made its way back up the slope to a tarred road. They walked along the road for a short while, past a Spaza shop. They then turned right down a narrow alleyway between shacks. The alleyway did not have any visible lighting. Dogs barked as the police officers walked past.

The court was shown the house where Mafevuka had stayed with her siblings. Just metres away, the cousins slept in one structure and ate in another family structure. A row of formal streetlights could be seen nearby.

Two women with babies sleeping on their backs came out to watch. The one told News24 that it was not safe to visit the toilets after dark.

"We can't go there at night. It is too far. We have a bucket at night, she said, shaking her head.

The inspection wrapped up and the accused were placed back in the police van.

The trial resumes on Tuesday.

Read more on:    sinoxolo mafevuka  |  cape town  |  crime

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