Palesa Madiba’s killer gets 31 years in prison


The Johannesburg High Court has sentenced Dumisani Mkhwanazi to a total of 43 years in prison for the murder of University of Johannesburg student Palesa Madiba in 2013, as well as other charges.

Mkhwanazi was sentenced to 20 years for murder, three for theft, eight years for defeating the ends of justice, 10 years for possession of an unlicensed firearm, and two years for illegal possession of ammunition.

The sentences for murder, theft, and defeating the ends of justice will run concurrently, meaning he will spend 31 years in prison.

In December Mkhwanazi was found guilty of murdering Madiba, defeating the ends of justice, stealing her phone, possession of an unlicensed firearm, and possession of ammunition, after previously having plead not guilty to the charges.

Madiba went missing after a sleepover at her friend Tshidi Mkhwanazi’s home in Phiri, Soweto.

Her body was later discovered in the yard behind Tshidi’s home in December 2015 after a neighbour noticed an arm protruding from a shallow grave.

Dumisani Mkhwanazi told the court that he saw Madiba only briefly before she disappeared, and denied he had admitted to having “crushed” her, as alleged by witness Richard Mahlangu.

Mahlangu stated that Mkhwanazi admitted privately to him to having “crushed” his victim.

A forensic expert corroborated the evidence in court when his examination of the skeletal remains demonstrated injuries consistent with blunt force trauma.

“One can safely assume that Mahlangu’s evidence is factually accurate. It is an indication that he had inside information about what occurred, in all probability the only person who could have given this information is the accused.

“Mahlangu did not have contact with Palesa on that day; the last person to have contact is Mkhwanazi. The only person who could have given this information – that was factually correct – is the accused. This is a safeguard that renders Mahlangu’s evidence as reliable,” the state said during its closing arguments.

The state further told the court that the accused was able to remember the deceased’s clothing vividly on that day because his encounter with her was not brief, as he previously claimed.

-The Citizen

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