The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, convicted Cynthia Mosupi and Sharon Gugu Twala of murder and kidnapping. The court, however, found that Mosupi had planned to kill Boitumelo Dlamini, while Twala did not plan the killing.
Dlamini was killed on June 18, 2015, because she had a love affair with Mosupi’s former boyfriend.
A teary Twala loudly sniffed while she received the verdict, while Mosupi appeared unfazed. The court heard evidence spanning months and detailing how Mosupi was a scorned lover who was upset with Dlamini, who would not leave her boyfriend and father of her child alone.
Both Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela and the prosecution earlier commented on how Mosupi showed no emotion while she watched a video of Dlamini pleading for her life.
The video was taken on the day of the incident, shortly before Dlamini was doused with petrol and set alight.
Both accused pleaded not guilty and said they only wanted to teach Dlamini a lesson. According to them, someone else had lit a cigarette, which caused Dlamini to catch fire. Her charred body was later discovered in veld near Klipgat, north of Pretoria.
The pair's friend Victor Pilane was at the scene during the incident and took a video clip on his cellphone.
It depicted Dlamini crying and pleading for her life, while she was allegedly attacked and held down by the accused after petrol was poured over her head. Mosupi, however, insisted that she only wanted to scare Dlamini.
Dlamini was abducted from the Eletsa Secondary School in Lethlabile, shortly after she wrote an exam. The two accused waited in a car outside the school gate for her. The judge said Twala, “like a Judas” put her arm around the victim and led her to the car.
They drove to a remote spot near a graveyard where the victim was forced out of the car. Some of the accuseds' friends had followed them in a second car.
The accused tried to tie Dlamini to a tree, but the belt they wanted to use was too short. The terrified Dlamini tried to run away, but Mosupi tripped her. Twala held on to her while they poured petrol over her.
Thereafter, Twala pinned Dlamini down, while Mosupi fetched a match in the car.
Twala went to hide behind a tree, while Mosupi had lit the match. None of the witnesses testified that they saw someone lighting the match and Mosupi denied it was her. She testified that someone on the scene must have lit a cigarette and that Dlamini accidentally then caught fire.
But an expert testified that petrol could only ignite when it was in direct contact with a flame. Judge Maumela said as Mosupi had fetched the match and she was the only one holding on to the victim at the time, it is clear that she was the one responsible for her being set alight.
The judge rejected her version that she only wanted to teach Dlamini a lesson that day. He questioned why she then bought petrol along and lit the match. Dlamini suffered more than 70% burn wounds and her entire upper body, including her head, was charred.
The community clearly showed the court that it would not welcome the killers back. Their advocates asked the court to extend their bail, but community members in the public gallery protested so loudly that a policeman had to quiet them down. This did not hold them back and when the judge ordered the pair to remain in custody until he had heard a formal bail application, they spontaneously clapped hands.