'Sandile Mantsoe was the last person Karabo Mokoena was expected to be with'

Sandile Mantsoe‚ the man accused of killing Karabo Mokoena appears at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court.
Sandile Mantsoe‚ the man accused of killing Karabo Mokoena appears at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court.
Image: Olo Mongale

The family and friends of Karabo Mokoena did not think it was possible that she could be with her alleged killer‚ Sandile Mantsoe‚ when she suddenly went missing in April 2017‚ the High Court in Johannesburg heard on Tuesday.

“During that week‚ Stephanie (Karabo’s friend) suggested we go to Sandton Sky and ask Sandile where she is. That is the last person anybody would have expected her to be with because that was her ex-boyfriend‚” said Bontle Mokoena‚ Karabo’s sister.

Bontle was testifying in the second day of Mantsoe’s trial. Mantsoe had lived at Sandton Sky. Stephanie Leong had assisted Bontle in getting in touch with the manager of the lavish apartment building. The manager‚ Ronnie‚ showed Bontle and another of Karabo’s friends‚ Neo‚ footage of Karabo entering and exiting the apartment.

Bontle broke down as she told the court that while they were there‚ a security guard came up to her and handed her Karabo’s passport and identity document.

Mantsoe‚ a forex trader‚ was arrested for brutally murdering Karabo after 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 the young woman‚ saying he had left her in his apartment and returned from a business meeting on April 28 to find she had committed suicide in his Sandton apartment. He did not specify how she had committed suicide.

Mantsoe claimed that out of fear and panic that he would be blamed for the death of his on-and-off girlfriend‚ he had 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.

After not hearing from her for days‚ Karabo’s family and friends went on a frantic search for her‚ circulating her pictures on social media‚ unaware that a badly burnt body that lay in a government mortuary was hers.

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

A post-mortem examination failed to deduce what had killed Karabo as her body was too badly burnt. The State submitted during the bail application that Karabo 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 charge.

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