A 28-year-old woman, Zanele Mkhonto, who was arrested for the August 2022 murder of Sergeant Mandlenkosi Happy Thwala, 45, has indicated that she intends to plead guilty.
IOL last year reported that the the 45-year-old police sergeant was shot five times with his service pistol — two times in the head and three times in his upper body — on August 2, 2022, in Gedlembane, in Pienaar.
The brutal murder of the police officer was investigated by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations, also known as the Hawks, based in Nelspruit.
On Wednesday, the High Court in Mbombela remanded Mkhonto in custody and postponed the matter to Thursday, for the guilty plea.
“During the investigation, Mkhonto, the girlfriend of the late Thwala was linked to the murder, arrested and charged on Wednesday, August 10, 2022,” said Hawks Mpumalanga spokesperson, Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi.
“She appeared at KaNyamazane Magistrate’s Court on the same day and was remanded in custody. The accused (Mkhonto) received the services of Legal Aid and battled in court on several occasions to obtain bail. She was denied bail and remained in custody since.”
Meanwhile, provincial head of the Hawks in Mpumalanga, Major General Nicholas Jacobus Gerber has saluted the investigating officer and the prosecuting authorities for their collaboration during the intensive investigation of the murder case.
Days after the brutal murder, IOL reported that Thwala’s body was discovered by a concerned neighbour.
“According to information, police in Pienaar were called to attend to a scene where a neighbour alleges that she received a call from the mother of the member, requesting the neighbour to check on her son as she is suspecting that her son might have been murdered,” Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said at the time.
“Upon the police’s arrival, they found him motionless, laying in his bed with visible gunshot wounds on his body. He was shot five times allegedly with his service pistol, two times in the head and three times on his upper body,” Mohlala said.
“There were also two cartridges found on the floor, and his vehicle, a green Volkswagen Polo Classic with registration DSV 112 MP, as well as his service firearm and cellphone were missing but later discovered abandoned in the bushes. A murder case with additional charge of robbery was opened for investigation.”