Durban — In sentencing a Newlands East woman for the murders of 12-year-old Sbongakonke and her mother Smangele Simamane the judge would be placing weight on the lack of remorse shown, and the State’s time and resources as the accused had pleaded not guilty.
Simamane’s body was found stuffed into a suitcase while her daughter was wrapped in a blanket, both were dumped on Lwandle Drive in KwaDabeka in October 2020.
Slindile Pamela Zamisa was found guilty by the Durban High Court of the murders, kidnapping of the mother and child as well as defeating the ends of justice by concealing evidence.
Simamane was assaulted with a plastic pipe, bare hands, had four kettles of boiling water poured on her body and strangled with a rope.
Sbongakonke was forced to swallow muti by Slindile who pressed her foot against the child’s neck before strangling her with the belt of a nightgown.
Slindile’s co-accused, her daughter Andile Zamisa, was found guilty on the same charges as her mother except for the murder of Sbongakonke.
The trial revealed how Simamane and her child were tortured and assaulted while being interrogated about their involvement in the 2012 murder of Slindile’s husband Bheki Ngcobo.
The two Zamisa women join two others previously convicted in connection with the murders. Nomfundo True Love Ngcobo and Sthembiso Nicholas Lamula were convicted and sentenced in 2021 for their part in the murders and disposal of the bodies.
Nomfundo, Slindile’s stepdaughter, is serving 20 years while Lamula, Slindile’s lover, was sentenced to six years for helping dump the bodies.
Slindile had been on her own when she killed her neighbour’s child near the kitchen while her mother was in the lounge of the Zamisa home.
From October 2020 all the women, Lamula and a teen moved from KwaZulu-Natal to Joburg where they stayed for two months before returning to KZN the following year.
The attack on Simamane began after a teen in the house at that time prophesied that the mother of five was among those involved in Bheki’s murder. The teen, last week had her guilty plea rejected by Judge Esther Steyn, who wants a trial instead.
She had been charged along (with) the Zamisa women who were convicted by Acting Judge Sibisi on Friday.
But before the trial could begin she told the court she wanted to plead guilty and a separation of trial was ordered.
“They have not shown remorse; they at length tried to justify their movements … the court had to spend time and resources. Nomfundo said if they had their way and if the deceased were alive, they might kill them again. Nomfundo places them at the scene. I’ve regarded her evidence as credible. Why should I not weigh this statement in sentence … How do I do a balancing act when this sort of statement has been made in court. This is the difficulty I’ll be faced with in sentencing. I’ll also consider the fact that they pleaded not guilty,” said Acting Judge Sibisi.
He was posing this to the women’s Legal Aid attorney Zeera Fareed during her address on mitigation of sentence.
The duo’s defence said it would not be leading any evidence in respect of sentence except to present the two’s personal circumstances as substantial and compelling circumstances that can see the court deviating from the prescribed minimum sentence.
“Both murders were brutal. Accused two (Andile) I’d say was influenced by her mother,” said Fareed who asked the court to rule that the sentences imposed run concurrently.
State prosecutor advocate Gugu Xulu in aggravation of sentence said Zamisa deserved two life terms for each murder and a lengthy period for the kidnappings and defeating the ends of justice.
“Accused two (Andile) should serve a life sentence for the murder. The brutality of the act outweighs their personal circumstances … ”
The women will be sentenced on Thursday.
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