Boyfriend 'abused' medic before death

Ntiyiso Xilumani, who is accused of killing intern medical doctor Shongile Nkhwashu, appeared in Mankweng magistrate's court yesterday./ PETER RAMOTHWALA
Ntiyiso Xilumani, who is accused of killing intern medical doctor Shongile Nkhwashu, appeared in Mankweng magistrate's court yesterday./ PETER RAMOTHWALA

"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 is how Limpopo MEC for health Phophi Ramathuba reacted to the appearance in the Mankweng magistrate's court yesterday of a 25-year-old man arrested for the murder of intern medical doctor Shongile Nkhwashu.

Ramathuba said that Nkhwashu, 24, who only worked for 17 days before her murder, was subjected to physical abuse by the suspect.

"When I visited the family this week, Shongile's father told me the man had been assaulting her for some time. He [the father] even approached the suspect's family to report the abuse but it continued unabated," Ramathuba said.

Nkhwashu and the suspect, Ntiyiso Xilumani, were a couple and he had been visiting the intern doctor in Mankweng when the incident happened.

Nkhwashu was found dead in her room at Mankweng Hospital on Sunday. Xilumani was charged with murder and theft before his case was postponed for further investigation.

Dressed in grey jeans and a white T-shirt with a "Sefako Makgato University" imprint, the former student of the medical university told the packed courtroom that he will enlist the services of the Legal Aid Board as 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 Nkhwashu had a heated argument on the fateful day.

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

Rishongile Hlongwane said the entire village of Mayephu outside Giyani, where Nkhwashu hails from, was heartbroken.

"Shongile 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."

Police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo said a visitor to the hospital reported a bad smell coming from her locked room.

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

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