Cape Times

Sinoxolo murder accused not guilty

- Siyavuya Mzantsi

THE family of murdered and raped Khayelitsh­a teenager Sinoxolo Mafevuka could not hide their emotions when the Western Cape High Court found the two men, accused of killing their daughter, not guilty yesterday.

Sinoxolo’s aunt, Nopathekil­e Gingqi broke down in tears as the accused, Xolisa and Athabile Mafilika, were freed.

“The justice system has failed us. We are left with more questions than answers. Sinoxolo may be gone but her spirit lives on. We put everything to God. We still feel the pain as we did when Sinoxolo was killed. We are still asking ourselves who killed Sinoxolo on March 1. Our questions are far from being answered,” said Gingqi.

Sinoxolo’s mother Nowethu could not comment as she grappled with emotions.

“This whole exercise was a waste of time. They could have found other ways. This has been dragging for almost two years. “I want nothing to do with them (accused),” said Sinoxolo’s brother, Lonwabo.

Sinoxolo’s near-naked body was found early on March 2 last year, by residents who alerted the police.

The last time her family saw her was when she had gone to use the toilet. Her lower back was facing the toilet door, while her face was under the toilet seat, with her clothes scattered in the toilet and some stuffed in a cistern.

The accused, both cousins, were arrested days after the Cape Times reported about the snail’s pace at which the police’s investigat­ion had been conducted, compared to that of 16-year-old Franziska Blöchliger, who was killed in Tokai Forest nearly a week after Sinoxolo’s murder.

Police acted swiftly, and offered the grieving family counsellin­g.

It had also emerged that the initial investigat­ing officer Cornelius van Niekerk, who the court also slammed initially yesterday, had told the distraught family to report to the Khayelitsh­a police station while mourning the teenager’s death.

This prompted then Deputy Police Minister Maggie Sotyu to visit the Khayelitsh­a’s police top brass to demand answers.

Three men were detained 36 hours after Franziska’s murder.A fourth suspect was later arrested. Earlier this year, Howard Oliver was sentenced to two life terms after pleading guilty to the murder and rape of Franziska.

Yesterday Judge Taswell Papier criticised Van Niekerk for his handling of the investigat­ion. Papier explained to the Mafevuka family that the court must apply the law “fairly and equally”.

“In criminal cases the State is obliged to reach a clear standard of reliable and credible evidence. The State must prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. In this case there are a number of difficulti­es.

“There is no direct evidence against the accused. No-one actually saw the murder and rape of the deceased. The accused were excluded from all DNA evidence,” he said.

The overjoyed family of the two men said they always believed they were innocent.

 ??  ?? A Cape Times report of March 10, 2016.
A Cape Times report of March 10, 2016.

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