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Cape Town - Simon Mkwani’s happiness was taken away the day his police officer wife and the mother of his child was shot and killed during a routine patrol in Mandela Park, Hout Bay.
Mkwani took the stand in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday and testified in aggravation of sentence against Fabianus Fillipus, 29, who has been convicted of murdering Constable Phindiwe Nikani, 26, and her colleague, Constable Mandisi Nduku, 27, who were shot at point-blank range .
On Wednesday, a sombre Mkwani told the court: “I want to say to the court I am happy. (But) it won’t bring back the happiness I had before. Her passing meant I have no family. What happened cost me. I’m left alone with no woman because of one man who took her life and her colleague’s life.”
After dating Nikani he realised that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. They were married according to customary law in July last year.
But just three months later, on October 12, 2012, the two officers were shot dead.
About 20 minutes before the shooting the officers had had an argument with Fillipus about moving his car from where it was blocking a narrow lane. He moved it but returned and opened fire on the officers.
On Wednesday, relatives, police officers and residents were at court to hear his fate.
Mkwani said it had been difficult for him to come to terms with his wife’s murder, especially as she was the breadwinner and because their daughter, Jabulile - which means happiness - was only a toddler.
“Losing Phindiwe has affected my life so that sometimes it’s so difficult to move on. It broke up everything.”
He noticed that his daughter, although young, was anxious when she looked at other children with their mothers. “She has no one to call ‘mommy’,” Mkwani told the packed public gallery.
In aggravation of sentence, prosecutor Samantha Raphels argued that Judge Patricia Goliath should impose the minimum sentence of life imprisonment for each count of murder.
She argued that since July seven police officers had been killed in the Western Cape alone. “It’s become almost an epidemic with the number of police officers killed. (Fillipus) was clearly there to shoot and kill. He doesn’t show any remorse. He only came to testify in his own interests.”
Rael Kassel, for Fillipus, conceded that there were no substantial circumstances to justify a deviation from the minimum sentence.
Fillipus testified in mitigation that he had a three-year-old daughter, had been born in Namibia and moved to Mandela Park in 2004. He had Grade 7 and worked as a boilermaker for a year while in Namibia. He came to Cape Town to look for work and found a job as a street vendor.
Fillipus said he had been convicted of a crime he had not committed and would appeal.
Judge Goliath is expected to sentence Fillipus on Thursday.