Sandile Mantsoe has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend Karabo Mokoena. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/ANA Pictures

Johannesburg - Sandile Mantsoe, accused of the murder of his girlfriend Karabo Mokoena, on Friday maintained his innocence during his bail application at the Johannesburg Magistrates' court. 

Mantsoe, 27, has been behind bars for about a month after he allegedly murdered and set alight Mokoena, his girlfriend of seven months, and then burying her body in a shallow grave in Bramley.  

Through his advocate, Victor Simelani, Mantsoe, dressed in a purple blazer, grey poloneck, blue jeans and gloves, on Friday insisted that he did not murder Mokoena.  

At the previous bail application proceedings, the investigating officer had said through an affidavit that Mantsoe had made an admission before a commissioner of oaths that he had poured swimming pool acid over Mokoena's body and then set her alight. 

Mantsoe allegedly said he had burnt Mokoena so that he would not be linked to her murder. He allegedly also said that he was introduced to traditional rituals by her.  

The investigating officer added that Mantsoe said that he and Mokoena had had cuts on their bodies and matching tattoos in the shape of a cross to ensure a lasting bond between them and the success of his business. 

Mantsoe also allegedly said in the affidavit that the reason for his business not doing well was because of a jinx after he broke up with her, and the only way he could break the jinx would be to kill her. 

In his replying affidavit, Mantsoe admitted to dating Mokoena from 2016 and said that he had initially broken up with her, but that they had managed to mend their relationship. 

He said they were dating on and off because of Mokoena's temperamental behaviour. Mantsoe further said that when he was arrested he was threatened by an officer in Sandton and was made to write a statement and was afraid of being assaulted by officers.  

He said his rights were not read to him during his arrest, as well as before he made the statement. Mantsoe denied making any admissions of murdering Mokoena. 

He also denied having cuts on his body, matching tattoos, as well as the mixing of their blood, and said he had no knowledge of the rituals that were mentioned by the investigating officer, and that his business had its up and downs but that they had no connection to his relationship with Mokoena.  

"I did not do such ritual with Karabo," Mantsoe said.  

Following her murder, Mokoena was described as a God-fearing young woman by her friends and family, and was involved in initiatives to assist women who were in abusive relationships. 

Mantsoe said he would not leave South Africa if he was granted bail as his family and business were both in the country. He said that his laundry was done at his home weekly and would sometimes be collected by his family members from his Sandton apartment. 

Previously, Mokoena's uncle, Tshepo Mokoena, said that CCTV footage showed Mantsoe with two people who were allegedly his family members cleaning and leaving his apartment with linen. 

"I don't believe my release would cause public disorder," Mantsoe added. 

Mantsoe confirmed that the information read to the court was correct. Magistrate Carlo Labuschagne requested that the defence and the state prepare heads of arguments to present to the court, following which he would give his bail judgement.  

Family and friends of Mokoena and Mantsoe were present in court. Earlier, Dario Milo, representing The Times Media Group, told Labuschagne that an agreement had been reached in regards to a media application, allowing media houses to broadcast the bail application proceedings. 

Milo said that the media was entitled to publish the information given during proceedings, but could not name any witnesses. 

For the State, Lindi-Nkosi Thomas from the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), confirmed that the order could be made as an agreement had been reached. 

That matter was postponed to 30 June for argument and possible judgment.