Waiting for justice: 7 shocking murder cases heading to court this year

Collin Pillay, accused of the triple murders in Phoenix, appears in the Verulam Magistrate's Court on October 3 2018.
Collin Pillay, accused of the triple murders in Phoenix, appears in the Verulam Magistrate's Court on October 3 2018.
Image: Jackie Clausen

From the gruesome murders of entire families to the tragic death of a young girl in a botched hijacking, these seven murder cases have captured South Africa's attention and are set to be heard in court this year.

1. Phoenix triple murders

Collin Pillay is accused of murdering Jane Govinsamy‚ 44‚ and her daughters Rackelle‚ 16‚ and Denisha‚ 22‚ in their flat in Phoenix‚ Durban‚ in September.

The Sunday Times reported that Pillay had a long-standing relationship with Jane‚ which her husband Sagren has strongly denied. Pillay has spent the festive season behind bars after he abandoned his bail application. The matter was adjourned to January for further investigations. 

The husband and father of the Phoenix triple-murder victims attended his first court appearance on September 25 2018. He waited patiently in the public gallery at the Verulam Magistrate’s Court to face his family members’ alleged murderer.

2. Sadia Sukhraj

Sibonelo Mkhize, the man charged with the murder of schoolgirl Sadia Sukhraj, will appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court in February.

The nine-year-old was with her father‚ Pastor Shailendra Sukhraj‚ in May when they were hijacked in Shallcross. As the hijackers sped off with Sadia in the car, Shailendra opened fire on the car, which crashed a few blocks away. Sadia died from a gunshot wound to abdomen. Mkhize was arrested. His accomplice Siyabonga Bulose died at the scene. 

The funeral service for 9-year-old Sadia Sukhraj in Durban was held on May 29 2018. Sukhraj was killed during a botched hijacking on May 28 2018.

3. Miguel Louw

Mohammed Ebrahim, the man accused of abducting Miguel Louw, will appear in court on January 31 for the murder of the Sydenham schoolboy.

CCTV footage showed the nine-year-old at a KFC with Ebrahim on the day of his disappearance. Ebrahim was arrested three days after Miguel was last seen. The boy's body was found less than 100m from his house.

Ebrahim faces charges of murder, kidnapping and theft.

4. Zolile Khumalo

Thabani Mzolo will appear in court in March for allegedly gunning down his ex-girlfriend‚ Mangosuthu University of Technology student Zolile Khumalo‚ after conning his way into her room at a student residence in May. 

Mzolo‚ a spurned lover‚ was arrested just moments after he allegedly shot and killed Khumalo inside her room at the Lonsdale student residence in the Durban city centre.

Murder suspect Thabani Mzolo in the Durban Magistrates Court on May 3 2018.
Murder suspect Thabani Mzolo in the Durban Magistrates Court on May 3 2018.
Image: THULI DLAMINI

5. Siam Lee

The case against the man accused of the kidnapping and murder of escort Siam Lee will only be heard in March in the Durban High Court.

The man faces a raft of charges‚ including the kidnapping and murder of Lee‚ as well as the rape of another woman. He cannot be named until he has tendered a plea in relation to the rape charge.

State prosecutor Surekha Marimuthu, in outlining the state’s case, painted the accused as a jilted lover who held Lee captive for more than 24 hours before she was bludgeoned to death and her body set alight in a secluded sugarcane field in New Hanover.

Murdered Durban escort Siam Lee.
Murdered Durban escort Siam Lee.
Image: Facebook

6. Stella Hoërskool double murder

Xander Bylsma has pleaded not guilty for the murder of his ex-girlfriend and her best friend in the small town of Stella in the North West.

It is believed he slipped into the Stella Hoërskool hostel and knocked out the two girls while they were sleeping. He then allegedly strangled both and made it look like a double suicide.

The following morning the hostel matron found the body of Sharnelle Hough, 17,  hanging from the staircase balustrade. Police later discovered the body of Marna Engelbrecht, 16, in an upstairs bathroom. 

Bylsma was arrested shortly afterwards.

Sharnelle Hough and Xander Bylsma in happier times.
Sharnelle Hough and Xander Bylsma in happier times.
Image: Facebook

7. Vlakfontein murders

Two men implicated in the murder of seven family members in Vlakfontein, south of Johannesburg, will appear in court on January 24.

A man known as Sibusiso Khoza (not his real name) and Fita Khupe have been accused of murdering three women and four children, whose decomposed bodies were found buried in shallow graves dug inside the Khoza house on October 29. The pair also face charges of theft, after bank cards that belonged to the deceased were found in their possession.

In addition, "Khoza" faces three counts of rape after he allegedly raped the three women, claiming it was under the instruction of Khupe. "Khoza's" real name cannot be revealed until after he pleads.

Khupe has denied the allegations of "Khoza".

A mourner waves a placard at the funeral of seven members of the Khoza family who were murdered in Vlakfontein, south of Johannesburg.
A mourner waves a placard at the funeral of seven members of the Khoza family who were murdered in Vlakfontein, south of Johannesburg.
Image: Supplied

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