Johannesburg - Gruesome details of Karabo Mokoena’s “suicide” involving blood rituals, a tattoo and a mysterious “Master” emerged in court this week during the testimony of Constable Helen Mahwete, one of the officers who were called to the crime scene.
Sandile Mantsoe, Karabo’s ex-boyfriend, is accused of killing her in April 2017. Mantsoe is facing three charges - assault with the intention to do grievous bodily harm, murder and defeating the ends of justice. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
On day four of the trial at the South Gauteng High Court on Thursday, Mahwete testified that she had overheard a conversation between Mantsoe and police officers at the Sandton Police Station in which he had allegedly told the officers that “you need power” for business to work.
Mantsoe was allegedly explaining the workings of the forex trading business he was involved in before his arrest.
When he was questioned by Mahwete, Mantsoe revealed that he got his “powers” when he and Mokoena were brought together in a ritual by someone he called “Master”. The pair then sealed the ritual by tattooing their bodies with crosses. Mantsoe refused to reveal the identity or gender of “Master”, Mahwete told the court.
Mantsoe allegedly said “Master” had warned them that if they separated, a sacrifice would have to be made. Karabo also knew that the sacrifice had to be done if they broke up, but Mantsoe didn’t want to elaborate what this sacrifice was.
But Mantsoe told Mahwete that after Karabo had stabbed herself, he was supposed to take her blood with his own to “Master” for a separation ritual which was to be done after 14 days. This never happened because Mantsoe was arrested.
“After the story about the cross (tattoo) and how they got it, I didn’t ask him if he had the same tattoo. He kept saying ‘I will see Karabo’s tattoo’. I asked how will I see it because her body was burnt beyond recognition.
“After he looked at me, he put his hand over his eyes, using the thumb and index finger to wipe both his eyes. They turned bloodshot red, he proceeded to say ‘eish saan you won’t understand’,” said Mahwete.
Mantsoe’s defence advocate Victor Simelane said his client would deny ever making the admission.
The second witness, Captain Mahundla, who took down Mantsoe’s statement after his arrest read it out in court, where the accused made claims that Karabo was very aggressive, suicidal and was attracted to the high life when he met her.
In the statement Mantsoe alleged that Karabo’s father was abusing her and he was preventing her from going home.
“She had a miscarriage from her ex, a Nigerian who kicked her on the stomach. She stayed with that man who abused her physically and mentally. He gave her R100 000 a month which made her attracted to this expensive life. (The man’s) friend raped her and that made her depressed.”
Mantsoe claimed that Mokoena had attempted suicide on multiple occasions. One was when she cut herself, another was when she spotted her alleged rapist at Sandton Skye. She took off in Mantsoe‘s grey Mercedes Benz and crashed it in a bid to kill herself. The repairs to the car were a staggering R100 000.
According to Mantsoe, Mokoena again attempted suicide in March last year, when she drank a lot of pills and called Mantsoe’s mom to confess. She locked herself in and refused to open the door. Mantsoe said he rushed to the security guards on duty to open the door and found an empty sleeping pills packet on the floor and Karabo dizzy.
There was also a suicide note which Karabo later destroyed. Mantsoe said they had separated five times in the short time they were together, and that it was Karabo who kept coming back to him.
In the lead-up to Karabo’s death from April 24 to April 27, Mantsoe claimed in the statement that they had engaged in sexual activity on many occasions. Karabo had been the one initiating this by sending Mantsoe messages in the wee hours of the morning. Mantsoe then escorted Karabo to Diepkloof, Soweto, on the afternoon of April 27.
The court also heard that in the evening Karabo had called Mantsoe, telling him that she missed him and that he should come and fetch her and they had more sex. He said they fought on April 28, and this culminated in him telling her that he didn’t want a relationship with her anymore before he took off, leaving Karabo alone in the apartment.
“On my way back I found Karabo on the floor with blood coming out of her neck. I panicked, I didn’t know what to do because it was a knife. I went to the toilet and wrapped her with a towel. I went out."
“When I came back I took her body to the bathroom. I went to buy a tyre and looked for a place where I could dispose of the body.I put her in the bin and took it to the car in the back and drove to Bramley. I put the tyre around her and burnt her, I didn’t kidnap her, she came on her own to come and see me. I didn’t kill her, she committed suicide. I feared no one would believe me.”
The trial resumes on Tuesday.