Court told of at least four incidents where Mantsoe was violent towards Karabo

Sandile Mantsoe, the man accused of killing Karabo Mokoena appears in the Johannesburg Central Magistrate's Court.
Sandile Mantsoe, the man accused of killing Karabo Mokoena appears in the Johannesburg Central Magistrate's Court.
Image: Naledi Shange

The High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday heard of at least four incidents where Sandile Mantsoe was alleged to have been violent towards his on-and-off girlfriend‚ Karabo Mokoena‚ whom he now stands accused of killing.

Karabo Mokoena’s sister‚ Bontle‚ detailed how her sister informed her that Mantsoe had on one occasion beaten her.

“Karabo found Sandile with another girl in a hotel room‚” Bontle testified.

A confrontation ensued and Sandile “head-butted her”‚ she added.

Mokoena’s friend‚ Puleng Mthethwa‚ took to the stand after Bontle.

She detailed how Sandile had smashed Karabo’s phone against the wall.

“Karabo would not let him have fingerprint access to her phone. He said he would count up to a certain number and would smash it if she didn’t [accede to his request]. He counted up to that number and then took the phone from her hand and smashed it. The incident happened at Hydro Apartment where Sandile was staying at the time‚” said Mthethwa.

The second assault occurred the next day.

“The day after the phone smashing‚ Karabo went to ask Sandile if he was going to fix the phone or pay for it‚” said Mthethwa.

They were sitting on the balcony at his house when an argument over this ensued‚ Mthethwa told the court. Sandile had refused to pay for the damage to the phone.

“Karabo said the person responsible for the damage needs to fix it. He got up and pushed Karabo against the wall‚ strangling her‚” said Mthethwa‚ adding that Sandile later told her that he was frustrated by how Karabo sometimes addressed him.

Mthethwa said on another occasion‚ Sandile had attacked Karabo while she was naked.

“He opened the [bedroom] door‚ flung Karabo towards a glass table. She was naked at the time. He was telling her that she needs to go home‚” Mthethwa said.

She claimed that Sandile said he would take Karabo home and the two of them left. He came back a short while later and she walked in with her luggage behind him‚ saying Sandile had refused to take her to another friend of hers but had instead wanted to leave her on the side of the highway.

Mthethwa was asked whether she believed her friend was suicidal as Sandile had denied killing Karabo but had instead alleged that she had committed suicide. All he admitted to doing was torching her body.

Mthethwa denied this‚ saying in her last conversation with Karabo‚ she had seemed excited about life.

Mthethwa told the court that she had clashed with Sandile when she bumped into the couple on March 19 when she was celebrating her birthday at Ikon in Soweto.

“They were sitting at a table opposite mine. I went to greet Karabo as I had not seen her in a while. Sandile grabbed me by the hand and asked why am I not greeting him as the head of their household‚” said Mthethwa.

The forex trader is accused of brutally murdering his 22-year-old girlfriend in April last year.

Her charred remains were found in a shallow ditch in Lyndhurst.

During his bail application‚ the married father of three who is estranged from his wife‚ denied killing her‚ saying he came home from a business meeting on April 28 and found she had committed suicide in his Sandton apartment. He did not specify how she had died.

Sandile claimed that out of fear and panic that he would be blamed for the death of his on-and-off girlfriend‚ he disposed of her body. He drenched it in pool acid and petrol‚ put a tyre around it and set it alight. The body was found a day later with only certain parts still recognisable.

During his bail application‚ the state submitted that Mantsoe had told police that he had killed Mokoena to sever a blood ritual that he had performed to strengthen his business. His business had reportedly started to fail once he and Mokoena parted ways.

Mantsoe‚ however‚ denied ever saying this.

A post-mortem however‚ failed to deduce what had killed Mokoena as her body was too badly burnt.

The state submitted during the bail application that Mokoena could have been alive when she was set alight.

Mantsoe faces charges of premeditated murder‚ defeating the ends of justice and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.