'People must speak out

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Communities should not fold their arms and say that domestic violence is "not my problem".

This was said by a men's gender group, Engender Health, in reaction to the brutal killing of a Pietermaritzburg woman by her boyfriend on Sunday.

The 35-year-old boyfriend appeared in the Pietermaritzburg magistrate's court on Wednesday facing charges of the murder of his longtime lover, while under the influence of alcohol.

The suspect, Mbhishobhi Ngcobo of Sobantu suburb area, allegedly murdered Judith Maduna, 32, in cold blood.

Maduna who had been staying with Ngcobo, was battered with a stick and struck with a blunt object before she was strangled.

Police said Maduna's body was found lying on the bed she shared with her boyfriend.

She had bruises all over her body and around her neck, indicating she had been strangled.

Police investigations at the scene revealed that Maduna's boyfriend came home on the night of the incident, allegedly under the influence of alcohol.

Ngcobo allegedly started a fight with the deceased, which ended in him allegedly assaulting Maduna with a stick and kicking her all over the body with his boots.

Police spokesman Inspector Joey Jeevan said they believed the suspect strangled her and dragged her lifeless body into the bedroom. He then tucked her in bed before he fell asleep next to her.

"A few hours later he woke up to inform his family that Maduna did not want to wake up.

"When the family members went into the bedroom to investigate, they found that she had been fatally wounded. They then alerted the police," said Jeevan.

Jeevan said Maduna's boyfriend was arrested and kept in custody until he appeared in court.

Jeevan said that the motive of the killing was domestic-related.

Police and gender organisations have condemned the incident. Dumisani Rebombo of Engender Health described the incident as one of many brutalities perpetrated by men on women.

Rebombo said the blame should also be put on the judicial system.

"The onus is always placed on the victims. Suspects are given bail and are back in the community," he said.

"What is even worse is that the sentences meted out are too lenient and do not send out a strong message.

"The community should not fold their arms and treat such incidents as 'another family matter'. These incidents happen at home behind closed doors, but the community has to play a role by reporting such violence and not wait until it is too late," said Rebombo.

Provincial police spokesman, Vincent Mdunge, said it was difficult for the police to prevent such cases from happening.

He urged the community to become involved by reporting incidents of abuse, no matter how trivial they were.

The case was postponed to Tuesday for the suspect to obtain a legal representative. Ngcobo was not asked to plead and was remanded in custody.