Horrific rape and murder case continues at Khayelitsha court

Reward poster at the Khayelitsha Court. Photo: Mzi Velapi.

Cross examination of police on the bail hearing for the two men accused of raping and murdering Mafevuka is set to continue at Khayelitsha magistrate’s court.

Khayelitsha, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

A postmortem report has revealed Sinoxolo Mavefuka, a Khayelitsha teenager who was raped and murdered in March, was strangled to death. Investigating Officer, Bakiti Tshabalala testified that the pathologist report confirmed that she was killed due to strangulation. Two brothers were arrested two weeks after Mafevuka’s body was found naked and bent out of shape with her head stuck between the cistern and the toilet seat and her lower body in a upright position with her legs hugging the toilet seat.

Witness claims he saw the two brothers dragging a body to the toilet

Testifying during the bail hearing, Investigating Officer, Bakiti Tshabalala told the Khayelitsha court that a state witness claims that he saw the two men accused of rape and murder on the night dragging a body towards the toilets. Reading the statement, Tshabalala said that the witness “ heard a female voice scream coming from the direction of the toilets, and when I looked in the direction I noticed the two accused dragging a female into the toilet. I hid in between shacks so the accused could not see me but I could clearly see them”. Later that day, Tshabalala told the court the witness heard that a female body was found in the toilet and he knew that it was the incident he had witnessed.

Gory pictures of Mafevuka’s body

Describing the pictures from the crime scene, Magistrate Xolani Menyiwe said “her backside was exposed and facing the door and from the picture one can see her private parts, her anus and her vagina”. The investigation officer, Constable Bakiti Tshabalala has given evidence to the court.

Witnesses and cousin on the run

The investigating officer told the court that there is a state witness who has placed the accused at the scene the evening before the body was discovered. According to the police, Mafevuka’s body was discovered the next morning at around 08:30. Giving evidence Tshabalala told the packed courtroom that the witness saw the accused having what looked like a serious and secretive conversation standing infront of the toilet where the body was discovered. “The witness told us that it was clear to him that they were talking about the toilet,” said Bakiti. The same witness told the police that at around 11:00 pm he heard voices of two people going towards the toilet. According to Tshabalala the witness know the accused as they “grew up infront of him”. The witness could identify the voices as those of the accused and he heard one of them saying “ndiphathiswe ndiyasindwa” (it’s heavy, please help).

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Tshabalala told the court that the accused cousin who also stays in SST section of Town 2 who is much older than the accused told his friend that the accused came to him and told him that “we have done something bad”.  The cousin, according to the police evidence was heard at the crime scene saying “bayenze nyhani abaninawa lento” (my cousins really went ahead with this). The cousin has since disappeared before giving a statement to the police. This according to Tshabalala is after he was harassed by the accused family. Tshabalala told the court that this has caused rifts in the family and at one stage they were called into the area as the families were having a stand off. Both families were taken to the Harare police station and met with the Station Commander and the Cluster Commanders to defuse the situation. The prosecutor asked why the statement was not taken when the families were at the police station and Tshabalala replied that it was up to his seniors to make that decision
No foreign DNA found on Mafevuka and insuffient male DNA on the jersey.

Protestors outside Khayelitsha court during Mafevuka bail hearing. Photo: Mzi Velapi.

Tshabalala told the court that no foreign DNA was found on Mafevuka’s clothes that were taken from the scene. Various clothing items that belonged to Mafevuka were taken to the laboratory for testing. There was also a male clothing item, a grey jersey, that was found on the crime scene. According to Tshabalala it was identified by one of the witnesses as a jersey that is shared by the accused and Mafevuka’s boyfriend – who is a cousin to the two accused. Because the jersey was soaking wet, not enough DNA was found on it as it was washed away, Tshabalala told the court.  The prosecutor asked if there was forensic evidence that was taken at the scene but the police told the court that the scene was watery and they could not take tests from the scene.

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‘Murder was an act of jealousy’

The court heard that Mafevuka was in a relationship with the cousin of the accused men. Tshabalala told the court that Mafevuka was seen leaving with another man from the local tavern the weekend before her death. This happened at the time the boyfriend  had already bought makoti (bride) attire for the deceased. The police believe that the two men accused of the 19-year-old’s rape and murder did it out of anger over her alleged infidelity. Tshabalala testified that the accused were also angered.

Interfering with state witnesses

During the testimony by the investigating officer, Constable Bakiti Tshabalala told the court that the boyfriend had stabbed a boy in the neck after the boy was seen speaking to detectives.
Young women living in SST section in Town 2, Khayelitsha, where Mafevuka was raped and killed, handed a petition to Tshabalala under the banner of  Zero Tolerance Programme. They say that there is an underlying rape culture in Khayelitsha that is holding them hostage. In the petition that was read by Tshabalala the women accuse the family of victimising, insulting and threatening them. They intend applying for a protection order from police.

The two accused, who are brothers aged 21 and 28, have pleaded not guilty to raping and murdering Mafevuka.

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