No bail for artist as he awaits sentencing for murder of sex worker

Disgraced South African artist Zwelethu Mthethwa will remain in custody until his sentencing hearing which is set to start on March 29.

Judge Patricia Goliath found him guilty of murder in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday.

Mthethwa beat sex worker Nokuphile Khumalo to death in Woodstock in 2013.

Khumalo died of cardiac arrest after suffering a liver injury from blunt force trauma as a result of the attack.

Mthethwa’s lawyer‚ William Booth‚ asked for his bail to be extended arguing that he was not a flight risk and that his release would expedite sentencing procedure.

Goliath disagreed and denied the bail extension and ordered that Mthethwa be remanded in custody at Pollsmoor.

Mthethwa was linked to the crime scene through CCTV footage which showed his black Porsche pull up next to Khumalo‚ before the driver exited the vehicle and attacked her.

Mthethwa argued that it was not him in the video‚ and called on “gait” experts to testify that the manner in which the attacker walked did not match his style of walking.

But Goliath in her judgment said that the CCTV footage used in evidence was “unimpeachable“‚ and that the court was convinced that Mthethwa was both the driver of the vehicle and the attacker.

Dozens of activists had earlier gathered outside the court awaiting the verdict.

Lesego Tlhwale from womens rights group Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Task Force (SWEAT)‚ said that a guilty verdict would mean “that sex workers lives don’t go unnoticed“.

“We are hoping for a positive verdict [and] a life sentence. He beat Nokuphile without remorse.

“This has gone on for too long. Justice delayed is justice denied‚” Tlhwale said.

Mthethwa’s large scale photographs of South Africans have been exhibited worldwide at venues such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the International Centre of Photography. — TMG Digital/The Times

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