Bail denied for Paarl murder accused
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Cape Town – The man alleged to have murdered and burnt his girlfriend’s body has been denied bail in the Paarl Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
According to National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila, Sithobele Qebe, 30, failed to convince the court that there were exceptional circumstances which compelled him to be released on bail.
Qebe is charged with murdering his girlfriend, 27-year-old Siphokazi Booi, on September 5.
Her dismembered and charred body was found the following day dumped close to the railway tracks on a dump site metres from Qebe’s shack in White City in Mbekweni.
Qebe also faces a charge of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm after he allegedly assaulted Booi on August 7.
He was arrested on August 10 but released on bail and his bail conditions included having no contact, directly or indirectly, with Booi.
That case against Qebe was postponed until October 4.
During his bail application, Qebe told the court he was a father of two and had family in Paarl and could supply the court with an alternative address in Strand where he would stay should he be granted bail.
He said he had no previous convictions or pending cases and would not interfere with witnesses. Qebe also said he ran a spaza shop and a fruit and vegetable stall.
State prosecutor Serene de Villiers opposed bail and called the investigating officer, Sergeant Vivienne Engelbrecht, to the stand. Engelbrecht has 17 years service under her belt and led the investigation into Qebe’s assault case.
Engelbrecht testified that Qebe confessed in a warning statement he assaulted Booi during the early hours of the morning of September 5. After the assault Booi vomited and fell asleep. She did not wake up.
The police officer testified that during the confession Qebe said he realised Booi had died and he collected a dustbin, bundled her limp body into it with her feet up and covered it with a plastic sheet.
She said he went further in confessing to pushing the dustbin to the dump site where he saw a fire where he left her body in the dustbin at the site. He denied burning her body.
Booi’s body was identified after DNA was collected from relatives.
Qebe has also been implicated in the alleged murder of a regular customer at his fruit and vegetable stall.
The deceased was a witness and at the time of his death is alleged to have been hiding from the army who were patrolling in the area while enforcing Covid-19 regulations.
Qebe was released on bail for this alleged murder, too.
The court heard Qebe contacted Booi and asked her to move in with him despite his bail conditions barring him from making contact.
It was also revealed that should he be released on bail, Qebe is alleged to have stated he would flee to the rural areas in the Eastern Cape.
De Villiers argued that Qebe broke his bail conditions before and murdered a state witness in his assault case.
She also submitted that three community organisations had sent petitions opposing his bail. Members of the community who lived in the street he would have been living in should he be granted bail also opposed bail.
De Villiers argued the safety of Qebe could not be guaranteed by authorities as his shack and vehicle had been torched immediately after the discovery of Booi’s body.
Ntabazalila said: “The court agreed with her and denied Qebe bail. It further noted that the accused lied to the court when he said he had no pending cases against him as the assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm case was pending at the time of her death.
“The NPA welcomes the decision of the court as it intensifies its efforts to successfully prosecute gender-based violence and femicide cases.”
Qebe was remanded to October 7.