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Process on course to take Palesa Madiba murder trial to high court

A suspect has been arrested for the murder of Palesa Madiba's murder
A suspect has been arrested for the murder of Palesa Madiba's murder
Image: Facebook/Palesa Madiba

The man accused of killing a University of Johannesburg student and burying her in a shallow grave will have to get a lawyer before his matter can be transferred to the high court.

Dumisani Mkhwanazi, 36, appeared briefly in the Protea magistrate's court, Soweto, on charges of murder and defeating the ends of justice in connection with the 2013 murder of Palesa Madiba.

His matter was postponed until August 21 in order for him to get legal representation so that he can be served with an indictment. The matter was also postponed so that it can be transferred to the South Gauteng High Court. The family of Madiba said it was it was relieved that someone had been arrested for their daughter’s murder.

Thabiso Tsoledi, Madiba’s uncle, told the Sowetan that the the family was overwhelmed with emotions over the progress of the murder case.

“It’s been an emotional week filled with mixed feelings; we’re partly happy that something is happening and that the law is taking its course,” Tsoledi said.

He said the family has opted to think of Madiba in a positive light. “We prefer to be happy rather than sad. We need to be positive and courageous. We also need to understand that things (trial) might not be short so we need to endure,” he said.

Tsoledi said in their frantic search for Madiba after she went missing they even asked Mkhwanazi if he knew where his niece was.

“He tried to distance himself from the whole incident. He said the last time he saw her was when she left the property (the home of Madiba's friend). He didn’t offer any [help] at all.”

Madiba's family last saw her when she left for a weekend stay at her friend's home in Phiri, Soweto. Mkhwanazi was reported to be an uncle of Madiba's friend.

National Prosecuting Authority spokeswoman Phindi Mjonondwane said Mkhwanazi was sought by the police since April 2018.

“The police could not trace him at the time and that a warrant of arrest was issued. But he was finally arrested and now we wait for him to obtain legal representation in order for him to be served with an indictment and for a date to be set in the high court,” she said.

It’s alleged that Mkhwanazi was hiding in Protea after he had learned the police were looking for him. Madiba's friend, Tshidi Mkhwanazi, had said Madiba was still sleeping at her home when she left for work on Monday August 12 2013. Madiba's family had last seen her on Friday August 9 2013. Tshidi however had indicated that she had left Madiba with Dumisani Mkhwanazi in the house.

Before his disappearance, Mkhwanazi had sought a restraining order against Madiba's family. Madiba, who was born on November 7 1992, was buried on January 11 2013 after her body was found was found on December 6 2015. Her funeral service was conducted at UJ Soweto campus auditorium. She was a student at UJ, where she had enrolled for a BSc degree in accounting in 2011.

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