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The daughter of Nomasonto Magdalene Ngwenya, 66, the high school teacher who was murdered by her alleged lover, cried openly in the Durban High Court on Friday as judgment was handed down.

Sandile Nzama was 18 when he allegedly began a relationship with Ngwenya, who was a history teacher at his high school on the Berea.

A year later, after moving into her house in uMlazi, he conspired to rob and kill her.

On Friday, Judge Themba Sishi found Nzama guilty of murder and theft and concealment of the body.

Ngwenya’s daughter, Nomfundo, said the judgment was a relief to her and her family.

“Knowing that justice has been served, my mother’s soul can now rest in peace.”

Nomfundo said the ordeal has taken an emotional toll on her and she still battles to come to terms with the murder.

“I moved out of the house. I was scared when he got bail. I’m now happy that he’s been found guilty and will be locked away. I have not gone home since the murder. I can now go back although the memories will forever haunt me,” said Nomfundo.

Nomfundo met Nzama who she knew was a pupil at the school where her mother taught. He had lived in their home for a year, when they lived together with her mother, and two other family members.

“My mother was a loving person, she had a big heart and would always take people under her care. How could he do such an evil thing to her? My mother was not in a relationship with him. It was only after her death I started hearing the rumours,” said Nomfundo.

It is alleged the two were in a “blesser-blessee” relationship, something Nzama had told his co-accused who turned State witness, Sifundo Vilakazi.

In February 2016, Nzama conspired with Vilakazi, a pupil at another school at the time, to rob Ngwenya of her Nissan Tiida for a R500 fee. The two strangled Ngwenya using a rope from Nzama’s tracksuit pants.

Vilakazi testified that he accompanied Nzama to St James High School where Ngwenya was a teacher so they could travel to uMlazi with her.

He said they first stopped at the house to pick up a television set and Nzama then drove through the streets of uMlazi’s BB section and passed a rope to him.

“He told me to tie the rope around her neck and I began strangling her. She tried to grab the rope, and Nzama stopped the car and held her hands until she stopped struggling. We realised that she was dead and I let go of the rope. We drove to a dump site in the KwaNdengezi area where we dumped the body and covered it with waste,” Vilakazi said.

The Ngwenya family is hoping Nzama receives a life sentence when the case resumes on September 4 for sentencing.

Sunday Tribune