Birthday vigil in court for slain sister
Attends hearing in protest against accused pair’s bail bid
WHILE Popi Qwabe would have turned 25 yesterday, her sister Thembelihle had to celebrate her birthday attending a court case in which two men stand accused of killing her and a friend.
Alec Magaula Mamothame, 43, and Sandile Nkosi, 25, appeared in the Protea Magistrate’s Court in Soweto yesterday to apply for bail.
They are accused of kidnapping, robbing and killing close friends Bongeka Phungula and Popi Qwabe on May 12.
Qwabe, who was found dead near the Naledi High School, had been shot and left for dead.
Soweto West police cluster commander Major-General Fred Kekana said a passerby found her and took her to Bheki Mlangeni Hospital in Jabulani, where she died on arrival.
Less than 24 hours later, her close friend, Phungula, 28, was found in Tladi, a neighbouring township.
She had also been shot in the upper-body. Police suspect she was raped.
Both women were originally from Mayville in Durban.
Mamothame and Nkosi, both taxi drivers, were arrested on May 21.
“It’s not fair that the suspects are seen as people who deserve bail.
“We are here to fight and oppose bail because they do not deserve bail,” Thembelihle said outside court yesterday.
She said the family were particularly emotional as yesterday would have been her sister’s 25th birthday.
“It’s sad and we can’t even celebrate her birthday, she said.
Thembelihle said attending court proceedings to protest against the pair getting bail would go a long way to remembering her sister.
“This is what we are doing for her to keep her memory alive. Next year we will be putting up a tombstone for her to celebrate her birthday,” Thembelihle said.
Mamothame said in a statement that was previously read out to the court by his lawyer, Themba Tshabalala‚ that he was driving his taxi at about 8pm in Zola when he was hijacked.
He said there were five passengers in the vehicle, two women and three men, but he escaped by jumping out of the moving vehicle.
Mamothame said he then informed his boss, Johannes Mkhwanazi‚ who later called Tracker.
He said the vehicle was later found abandoned in Mapetla, Soweto.
Nkosi was allegedly found in possession of one of the deceased’s cellphones, which he claimed he found in the taxi.
He said he took it home when he could not trace the owner‚ adding that he had no knowledge of the case.
Magistrate Herman Badenhorst postponed the case to today, when the bail application was expected to be finalised.