I found my daughter sprawled in bed, dead
The father of a pregnant teenager, who was allegedly raped and killed by her boyfriend, wept as he relived the day he found her body.
Zanele Khumalo was 18 years old and five months pregnant when she was allegedly raped and strangled by Thato Kutumela at her parents' home in Garsfontein, Pretoria, in April last year.
Her father, Themba Khumalo, yesterday told the Pretoria High Court that on the day of the incident, he had arrived at home with his wife at about 5pm.
"We buzzed her at the main gate of our complex, but she did not open for us, Khumalo testified.
"I opened the gate with my remote. We knocked at the house, but there was no response. I opened with my own key. When I entered the house there was no one around ... we thought the children had gone to the shops."
He said they decided to check their children's bedroom.
"We looked at the bed and (saw) Zanele sleeping - sprawled on her stomach and covered with a blanket.
"I became angry because we had been knocking (without response). I shouted at her ... asking, 'What if we were criminals?'
"Her mother pulled the blanket down from her face. I joined in and opened one of her eyes, and I realised there was no life. I checked her breath but she was not breathing. My wife ran out while I stood there in disbelief."
He said his wife returned with neighbours, who suggested they take Zanele to hospital.
"We realised when we carried her that she was heavier than normal. It dawned on me that she was no longer alive.
"After attending to her in the emergency room, a doctor ushered me into his office. He said my daughter had been dead for about three hours ..." he said.
He said Kutumela's mother called him to ask where Zanele was.
"I told her she was no more. She asked me if Thato had shot her. I told her I did not know, but people had seen him with my daughter earlier.
"She said she found it strange that though her son worked at Woolworths he had returned home that day with a bag of bloodstained clothes. He explained to her that he had become ill at work and started vomiting blood.
"But I felt she was protecting her child and ended the conversation."
Kutumela has pleaded not guilty to rape, murder and theft charges.