Accused in the murder of young doctor had been 'abusing' her

Shongie Nkwashu
Shongie Nkwashu
Image: Via Twitter/@PhophiRamathuba

"He appeared in court as if he didn't kill a person. He didn't even show any sign of remorse and behaved like an animal."

This was the reaction from Limpopo MEC for health Phophi Ramathuba after a 25-year-old man arrested for the murder of intern medical doctor Shongie Nkwashu, 24, appeared in the Makweng magistrate's court yesterday.

Ramathuba added that Nkwashu who only worked for 17 days before her gruesome death was subjected to physical abuse by the suspect.

"When I visited the family this week, Shongie's father told me that the man had been assaulting her for some time. Her (father) even approached the suspect's family to report the abuse but it continued unabated," Ramathuba said.

The MEC said she will be monitoring the case closely until justice for Nkwashu is served. Nkwashu was found dead in her room at the Mankweng Hospital on Sunday.Shongie's brother who was in court was too emotional to speak.

The suspect, Ntiyiso Xilumani, appeared in court for murder of Nkwashu and theft; his case was postponed for further investigation. Dressed in a grey jeans and a white T-shirt with "Sefako Makgato University" imprint, believed to be a handout from Nkwashu, a former student of the medical university, covered his face with his chained hands.

Xilumani told the packed courtroom that he will enlist the services of Legal Aid Board since he doesn't have money for a private lawyer. A police source told Sowetan that Xilumani, who apparently confessed to the murder, said he and Nkwashu had a heated argument on the fateful day.

"He said he strangled her with his own hands. Shongie then tried to free herself by biting his hands but that didn't help. "He said he dragged her on the bed and few seconds later when called her name she didn't respond," said the source.

However, Nkwashu's room where the incident happened had bloodstains on the floor. Several people from Mayephu village outside Giyani where Nkwashu hails, traveled all 150km to attend the case. Rishongile Hlongwane said the entire village was heart-broken hence the effort to travel to Mankweng to be at the court.

"Shongie was a good girl and very humble towards everyone. We want the family to know that we are here to support them and we want this criminal not to ever come back," she said.

At time police spokesman Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said a witness visiting the hospital was informed of the bad smell coming out of one of the rooms and upon closer inspection, one of the rooms was allegedly found locked from outside.

"The police were then called and on arrival the door was then broken. The deceased was found lying on her bed. She was already in the early stage of decomposition."

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