Aluta Pasile, who is accused of killing University of Fort Hare student Nosicelo Mtebeni and dismembering her body, will conduct his own defence at the murder trial.
During his court appearance in the East London Magistrates court on Tuesday, Pasile confirmed to magistrate Annemarie Elliott that he did not want bail and that he would conduct his own defence and did not need a lawyer.
Pasile (25) was making a second appearance in court for the murder of his girlfriend, Mtebeni (23), in August during Women’s Month, in what is believed to have been a crime motivated by jealousy.
He was wearing a navy jacket and did not say a word. Whenever Elliott asked him a question, he either responded with a nod in approval or shook his head when he did not agree. He cut a lonely figure in the dock, staring into space, and not making any eye contact or showing any emotion.
As soon as the court adjourned following the brief appearance, Pasile, a well-built fellow who had worked in East London nightclubs as a bouncer, quickly jumped out of his seat and made his way to the holding cells below the courtroom, trying to avoid the media contingent that was there. He was remanded in custody until his next appearance.
Outside courtroom A, students and activists demonstrated, calling for justice for the late fourth-year student. They were joined by MEC of social development, Siphokazi Mani-Lusithi.
Mtebeni’s dismembered body was found stuffed inside a suitcase and a bag on the corner of Fitzpatrick Road and Fleet Street in Quigney suburb in East London in August. Her head and hands were found in Pasile’s possession, inside a room they had shared in Quigney.
Mani-Lusithi and student protesters expressed disappointment about the delay in the case and the postponement.
MEC Mani-Lusithi came to court to show her support to survivors of gender-based violence and their families.
Siphokazi Mbhalo, transformation and gender officer of the Student Representative Council in Fort Hare’s East London compass, said she was very disappointed about the postponement.
“It’s always the case when it comes to cases of gender-based violence. There are endless postponements because they want us to lose the momentum and energy in fighting for justice. Unfortunately for them, in this case that won’t happen. We will keep on coming here and fighting for justice for Nosicelo.
“I expected this case to be dealt with speedily because clearly the perpetrator is ready to get sentenced. He does not even want legal representation and does not want bail. I don’t understand why they are dragging out the case.”
Anelisa Ngcakani, Eastern Cape regional spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, said court processes could not be concluded overnight:
“We want to win cases, so that is why we continue with our investigation and are building a solid case because, at the end of the day, we want the alleged person who is accused to face justice, especially if there is evidence which points to the direction that they have done what they are accused of,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is for justice to be served. That is why we are conducting further investigation and we want to make sure there are no loopholes.”