Murders highlight how Mzansi is failing women and children

As the country concludes its commemoration of the 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children on Tuesday, Sunday World recaps some of the cases that shocked the nation and made headlines in recent times.

While in some of these murders convictions were secured, there are some families that still have to find closure.

  •  In April last year, 22-year-old Karabo Mokoena's life was cut short when she was killed by her lover, Sandile Mantsoe at his rented Sandton apartment. Mokoena's charred remains were found in a ditch in Lyndhurst, Johanneburg, after Mantsoe had doused her body with petrol and pool acid before setting it alight.

In May, Mantsoe was found guilty of the murder and assault and was sentenced to an effective 32 years in prison.

  •  Earlier this month, four men convicted of the murder of Stellenbosch student Hannah Cornelius and the attempted murder of her friend, Cheslin Marsh, were sentenced to a combined 358 years' imprisonment by the Cape high court.

Cornelius and Marsh were accosted and kidnapped by a gang of men while they sat in her car in Stellenbosch.

Marsh was stoned, stabbed, and left for dead while the group drove Cornelius to a paintball range, where they raped and killed her. Marsh has since gone deaf in one ear and has dropped out of university.

  • Friends Popi Qwabe and Bongeka Phungula, of Soweto, were murdered in May last year. However, their families never got closure when the case involving two taxi operators arrested in connection with the murders was struck off the roll in February, pending DNA results.
  •  Three-year-old Poppie van der Merwe died in 2016, in what was later found to be a case of child abuse.

The North Gauteng high court sentenced her parents, Kobus and Louisa Koekemoer, to life in prison plus 10 years each for her murder and for the eight months of abuse the child suffered.

  • The 32-year-old Chatsworth, Durban, mother of a three-year-old girl from was found guilty in September of abusing and killing Baby X in 2014. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday. Her co-accused, the child's grandmother, died in prison in April.
  •  In October, a Limpopo father who killed his four sons by slitting their throats, was given a life sentence by the Supreme Court of Appeal after he attempted to get his 52-year sentence reduced.
  •  Child rapist and murderer Mortimer Saunders was sentenced on Tuesday after being found guilty of the killing of three-year-old Courtney Pieters. She was found in Epping industrial area near her Cape Town home in May last year, with Saunders helping the family look for her. Saunders admitted to necrophilia and to feeding her ant poison.
  •  David Ngwenya, a technician at Eskom, allegedly murdered Thembisile Yende after he suspected that she would blow the whistle on a copper syndicate. Yende, who was 39 at the time of her death, was discovered in the storeroom at the Pietersboth substation after she went missing on May 17 last year. Ngwenya was released on R15 000 bail and the case was provisionally withdrawn in May this year.

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