Cape Town - Violent assault by a partner is considered "the norm" in families blighted by alcohol abuse and poverty in Bredasdorp, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday as sentencing proceedings began for the man who raped, kidnapped and murdered teenager Elda Jaftha.
"Many of the violent crimes are committed between girlfriend and boyfriend, and husband and wife," investigating officer Nataniel Kruger told Acting Judge Feziwe Renqe.
Zimbabwean Gift Sibondo, who was found guilty on Monday, listened as proceedings continued.
The public gallery was empty, in contrast to the massive outpouring of dismay after Jaftha's body was found under Sibondo's bed on May 31 2015.
The two had been in an on-off relationship since she was 12-years-old and she was last seen by several people while she was slung over his shoulder on May 29 2015.
He told them she was feeling "faint" from drinking too much and he took her home and dabbed a damp hot towel on her in the hope that she would recover.
On Sunday, May 31, that year, he hid her under his bed when somebody arrived to fetch a borrowed DVD.
He never took her to a hospital. A suspicious neighbour tipped off the police and his door was broken down. Jaftha's feet were found sticking out from under his bed.
Teeth knocked out
When handing down judgment, Renqe said the girl had been severely beaten and possibly even kicked before she died.
The attack was so severe, that a piece of what could have been a screwdriver and twig points, were pulled out of her wounds. Two of her teeth had been knocked out.
He had pleaded not guilty, but said she had consented to sex and that they lived together and were in a "love relationship".
He was in his late 20s when he raped and killed her.
Kruger testified that most people remembered 17-year-old Anene Booysen who had been gang-raped and disembowelled in the town in February 2013.
She did not survive and these "very cruel" murders and attacks still occurred.
He told Renqe that, in his 27 years as a police officer and 17 years as a detective, the common denominators in the cases were alcohol abuse and poverty.
Financial dependence on an attacker made it worse because the women would lay a charge, an attacker would be arrested, but the case would later be withdrawn when they realise they would lose their financial support if their attacker went to jail.
In one recent case he investigated, a woman's partner used a wooden pole to beat her so badly that he fractured her skull, said Kruger.
When he interviewed her in Tygerberg Hospital, she told him that was just "the norm" in her relationship.
When she realised that her spouse could go to jail, she started to worry about how she would support herself and her family because he had given them money.
This was a typical response to victims from poor families where alcohol abuse was prevalent, he said.
This fear of losing support meant that many attackers go unpunished.
Never see her again
Before Kruger testified, an affidavit was read on behalf of Sibondo's ex-girlfriend, who may not be named to protect the identity of their child.
The statement was short, and focused on her loss of financial support when Sibondo was arrested.
Elda's mother Eva held back tears as she said that Sibondo should get life for the murder of her daughter.
"It broke my heart that I will never see her again," she said.
Sibondo will be sentenced on Friday.