Durban — With two accused already serving their sentences for their part in the murder of a mom and her daughter – found stuffed in a suitcase – the versions of the remaining accused are due to be heard in the Durban High Court where the trial begins today (Tuesday).
Slindile Pamela Zamisa, her daughter Andile Zamisa, 23, and a teenager are charged with the 2020 murders of Smangele Simamane and her daughter Sbongakonke Mthembu, 12.
The trial begins nearly a year after Zamisa’s stepdaughter Nomfundo Truelove Ngcobo and Nicholas Sithembiso Lamula were sentenced for the Newlands West murders.
In April last year, after Ngcobo pleaded guilty, she was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment. The following month Lamula was sentenced to six years in jail for his role in the murders.
The two were convicted by the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
In his plea, Lamula, who was Zamisa’s lover, had said his girlfriend managed to lure Simamane and her daughter to a house in Durban where she blamed them for a close relative’s death. He had handed himself over to the SAPS and confessed to his part in the two murders.
Ngcobo, in her plea, had told the court the motive for the killings was that she believed Simamane was part of a group of people responsible for her father’s death through witchcraft.
Speaking ahead of the trial, Simamane’s husband, Senzo, said the arrest of all the accused was swift, but he felt that it had been a slow journey to the trial finally beginning.
“I don’t know how the NPA and SAPS can better work together to ensure that trials start swiftly. It has been nearly three years and only now the trial is starting.”
He was going into the trial wanting two things – closure and motive.
“I’ve been in hospital. I was only discharged last week trying to deal psychologically with what was to come with the trial.
“Everything is laid bare in court during the trial, I am ready to hear it. I’m still waiting to get closure and hear what the accused will say … I have been waiting anxiously to hear why what happened took place.
“Since the murders, I have not been back at work because I’m unable to cope,” said Senzo, who is a Durban Metro Police officer.
Zamisa and her daughter have been in custody since their arrest in June 2021, having been denied bail in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court by Magistrate Wendallyn Robinson. This, while the teen was released into the care of a guardian.
Robinson denied the two bail, based on the fact that they were a flight risk, after a witness the pair had called to the stand in support of their bail application told the court that the two admitted they fled the area fearing what might happen following the murders and knew they were being sought by police.
Zamisa and her daughter were arrested on the same day but in different places, in KwaDukuza and Johannesburg, respectively.
WhatsApp your views on this story to 071 485 7995