Pietermaritzburg - A Mozambican national has pleaded guilty to murdering his girlfriend’s seven-year-old son and then burying his body in their yard.
Elias Msimango, 53, told the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday he murdered Olwethu Dlamini because he was angry with the child’s mother, who he believed was cheating on him, and wanted to punish her.
In his plea, Msimango said he had been in a relationship with Olwethu’s mother, Thuli Dlamini, since 2005.
“We had been staying together at Vosloorus in Gauteng before Thuli made us move back to Mondlo, in Nquthu, in 2010.” Olwethu and his two siblings lived with the couple.
Msimango said problems started creeping into the relationship because he was unemployed and Dlamini would regularly leave the house for several days and tell him she had gone to visit her mother or sister.
“She would leave me alone with the children and I began to suspect that she was cheating on me.”
In August, Dlamini left to visit her sister in Eshowe. She was gone for six days and then on the day she was due to return home, she instead went to visit someone in the Zungwini area, where she stayed for four days.
“When I would call her to ask that she come home, we would end up arguing and she would switch her cellphone off.
“I got angry because it was becoming clear that she was cheating on me. I wanted to hurt her feelings too,” Msimango said.
He said that in September, Dlamini again went to Eshowe and on September 22, when he called her to come home, they had a huge argument.
“On that day I got so angry I decided to buy myself two beers and a half bottle of whiskey, which I drank.”
Msimango said that after he consumed the alcohol, he called Olwethu to a shack in the yard that they used to store firewood. There he strangled Olwethu and then dug a shallow grave and buried the child in the shack.
He then told Dlamini that Olwethu had gone missing.
Later that evening, Dlamini returned with family members and the police. A search was conducted with no success.
On October 3, Msimango left for Mozambique. Once back in his home country, he called Dlamini and confessed his crime to her.
“I told her where I had buried the body, but after three days she called me to inform me that they could not locate the child’s body. I came back to South Africa to show them where the body was buried,” Msimango said.
Upon his arrival in Joburg, Msimango was arrested.
He then pointed out the location of the body to police.
Arguing in mitigation of sentence, Msimango’s advocate, Bongani Mbatha, said that Msimango felt a genuine remorse for what he had done.
“He came clean with the mother of the child and confessed his crimes to her. He wanted to clear his conscience, because ever since this terrible tragedy occurred, he was not at ease,” Mbatha said.
Mbatha submitted that since his arrest, Msimango, who was a first-time offender, had co-operated with police and had apologised to Dlamini for what he had done.
Arguing in aggravation of sentence, prosecutor Siyabonga Ngcobo said t Msimango had planned the murder to punish Dlamini.
He said Msimango had been the father figure in Olwethu’s life since the boy was six months old. “This man abused the child’s trust and the trust of his partner.
“Children need to be protected. We preach their rights every day, and yet this child was killed by the one person he should have been able to count on,” Ngcobo said.
Judge Fikile Mokgohloa will deliver sentence tomorrow.
Dlamini, speaking outside court on Tuesday, said that she did not accept Msimango’s apology. “I want justice for my child. I can never forgive the man who took his life.”