Mom still mourns slain teen

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Copy of Copy of Copy of PN Kutumelo584

Masi Losi

Thato Kutumela, who killed his pregnant girlfriend, covers his face in court during sentencing proceedings. Picture: Masi Losi

Pretoria - Three months after her daughter’s murderer and rapist was convicted, Busi Khumalo is still struggling to come to terms with Zanele’s death.

Khumalo says the hardest thing is that Zanele’s killer, Thato Kutumela, has not said what happened to her.

In November, Kutumela was found guilty of the murder and rape of his model girlfriend, Zanele Khumalo, 18, at her home in Garsfontein on April 21, 2011. He had also been charged with robbery, but this was finally reduced to a theft conviction. He stole Zanele’s pink pyjamas, dressing gown and underwear.

During the trial, he opted not to testify about his version of events. He still maintains he is not guilty.

Khumalo said: “It is hard for me to sit here and see him. The case has been going on for a long time.

“He and his family have never come to us to explain what happened. I cannot forgive him. If I say I forgive him, what would I be forgiving him for?

“He still maintains that he did not kill my child. The guilty verdict helped us with closure, but what is painful is that he has still not spoken. There is no way I can forgive.

“I’ve accepted I will never see my child again, but it was not easy. Zanele was very close to her little sister Lindi. During the December holidays she dreamt about her a lot. She dreamt about them going shopping. December is a time for family and she did not have her sister.”

On Thursday, the family again came face to face with the killer in the Pretoria High Court during sentencing.

Kutumela, who was always in a jolly mood during the trial, cut a lone figure in the dock on Thursday.

He spoke to his family in hushed tones and wrote notes in an A4 notepad during proceedings.

The proceedings continued despite the death on Wednesday night of the father of Kutumela’s legal representative, advocate Anneke van Wyk.

The court heard evidence from clinical psychologist Suzette Heath, who had interviewed Kutumela, his family and friends.

Heath said she found Kutumela was not coping well with Zanele’s death. He believed her family, especially her father, Themba, were victimising him.

“He is depressed, has low self-esteem and is passively aggressive. He keeps his frustration inside.

“He is also withdrawn, sulks and does not adapt well to change. When he is angry he goes to his room. He is not someone who goes around breaking cups and doors.

“During the consultation he insisted that he is innocent.

“One of the things I picked up was that he has difficulty dealing with emotions. He needs to learn ways to deal with them.”

The State insists that Heath’s report cannot be trusted because Kutumela did not tell her about previous incidents of violence he was involved in. He also lied about why he went to visit Zanele on the day of her death.

Heath conceded that she might have reached another conclusion had she known about the incidents.

“I asked him about Zanele having a fling with someone else, but he was not forthcoming. The fact that he forcefully took her cellphone shows that he is over-possessive. He didn’t tell me those things because it would be negative on his part.”

Heath will continue with her testimony on Friday. - Pretoria News

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