‘Sweet’ deadly lover

He was considered to be the sweetest and kindest of men, but he raped and strangled three women and left their bodies to decompose in the fields of Orange Farm.

This week David Nocela (32), ­father of a six-year-old child, was given three life sentences for the crimes he committed over three months in 2008.

He was found guilty of the murders of Joyce Mkhwanazi (24), Thembelani Nkuna (22) and Asanda Mhlanga (23).

According to evidence in court, Mkhwanazi and Mhlanga were ­Nocela’s girlfriends. He was caught after he made calls from two of his victims’ cellphones after their murders.

Speaking at the Vereeniging ­circuit of the North Gauteng High Court, Mhlanga’s aunt, Nontomzana Sithela, said she had never thought of her niece’s boyfriend as a possible serial killer.

“He led people around him to ­believe he was a caring man, while he was actually a wolf in sheep’s skin,” she said.

“Asanda was a very nice girl who cared about everyone. She wanted so much to become a singer. I now listen to her music whenever I miss her and want to get close to her.

“This killer called her while I was at home with her. She left and ­never returned. A month later we found her decomposed body.”

Sithela’s cousin, Hanica Thibane, added: “When family members celebrated their birthdays he would send messages wishing them well.”

Abram Segale (29), Nocela’s friend of 10 years, reeled in shock when he found out about his friend’s barbaric murders.

“He was a kind guy and I did not think he was capable of doing that.

“In all the time I have been his friend, I am still to see his bad side,” he said.

“In March 2008 he told me his girlfriend had been raped and killed. As a friend I comforted him. I never for once thought he was the one who did it.

“He even attended Joyce’s funeral, where he took pictures.”

Nkuna’s parents, Lazarus and Constance Nkuna, are still struggling to come to terms with the death of their daughter.

“She was my only daughter and life is so miserable without her,” Constance said.

“She had two kids and when she was killed the youngest was only six months old and the other was two years old.

“We will never get our daughter back, but at least the thought of him in prison will help to bring us closure.”

Elizabeth Mkhwanazi, Joyce’s mother, did not attend the ­sentencing.

Judge Boisie Mbha said the ­victims’ hands were tied behind their backs before they were raped and strangled.

Mbha said although Mhlanga’s postmortem had failed to conclusively show the cause of death, the circumstances were similar to those in the other two murders.

“I do not have the slightest doubt that you strangled her as well,” said the judge.

Mbha said Nocela’s refusal to disclose his reasons for committing the crimes showed that he had no remorse and there was therefore no chance of rehabilitation.

Nocela was also found guilty of the 2002 rape of a 15-year-old.

The judge refused defence counsel advocate Pieter du Plessis’s ­application for leave to appeal, saying there was no indication that ­another court might reach a different conclusion.

Nocela will serve his sentences concurrently.


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Who do you think is going to win the 2020 US election?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Biden is going to take it
46% - 4849 votes
It's four more years for Trump
54% - 5754 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
16.53
(-0.24)
ZAR/GBP
21.43
(-0.20)
ZAR/EUR
19.48
(-0.24)
ZAR/AUD
11.64
(+0.05)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(-0.17)
Gold
1902.32
(-0.02)
Silver
24.47
(+4.66)
Platinum
855.51
(+0.26)
Brent Crude
42.85
(-0.67)
Palladium
2334.28
(+0.69)
All Share
55161.03
(+0.21)
Top 40
50741.94
(+0.09)
Financial 15
9977.80
(+3.10)
Industrial 25
74762.95
(-0.61)
Resource 10
54129.95
(-0.07)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo