Two years after 19-year-old Ayanda Simelane was hacked to death allegedly by her boyfriend, her family were denied closure last week when the long-awaited case was withdrawn.
Two years after 19-year-old Ayanda Simelane was hacked to death allegedly by her boyfriend, her family were denied closure last week when the long-awaited case was withdrawn.

How can a watertight case like this be dismissed? asks Ayanda Simelane's mom

By Amanda Maliba Time of article published Jun 21, 2020

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Johannesburg - Two years after 19-year-old Ayanda Simelane was hacked to death allegedly by her boyfriend, her family were denied closure last week when the long-awaited case was withdrawn at the Springs Magistrate's Court.

The ruling came at a time when South Africa has been blighted by a series of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) cases in the past weeks.

Several people have taken to Twitter and others marched on the streets to express their outrage at the spate of killings of women and children.

Although this is not new to the country, GBVF in South Africa has been ranked five times higher than the global average, according to the Crime Against Women in South Africa Report 2018 by Statistics SA.

Last Wednesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa, while addressing the country, declared war against GBVF as a pandemic, calling for practical and bolder actions against it.

But for the Simelane family, dismissing the case against after two years of investigations and waiting is just another reminder of how difficult it is to prosecute perpetrators of GBVF.

Simelane’s mother Selina Simelane said they have been let down by the system because all they want is justice for her. 

While sitting at their family home in KwaThema Springs, she recalled the fateful day.

She said, according to witnesses, Simelane was last seen with her then boyfriend when they “went to the bathroom”, with the man allegedly dragging her out of a pub.

“The pub manager allegedly asked (him) why he was being so violent with Ayanda and he said they are going to fix their issues. That was the last time Ayanda was seen,” said the visibly pained mother.

Earlier that day, before leaving the house, her mother recalled how Simelane was unsure about going out. But she went against her gut feeling.

“On the same day around 8pm, she called me from (her boyfriend’s) phone to tell me she loved me. I found it so strange, but now looking back it was her way of saying goodbye,” she reminisced.

The pair had been together for more than a year and within that time, he was said to have been physically abusive towards Simelane and threatened to kill her family that she lived with in Marikana, an informal settlement at Ekurhuleni.

Simelane was described as a bubbly and strong-willed woman who had completed high school the previous year and was looking for a job.

Weeks before the killing, Simelane applied for a protection order against her boyfriend, only for his sister to persuade her to drop it, “because (he) already had a lot of pending cases against him and this one would jeopardise his job.

“We truly believe that corruption is behind this dismissal because how can a watertight case with ample witnesses and footage at the pub be dismissed like this? Is that how little a woman’s life is worth in South Africa?” the mother asked.

The family is supported by One Strong Voice Foundation, social justice advocating NPO, that is calling for a review on Simelane’s case.

Lumka Mahanjana, the North Gauteng regional spokesperson for the Director of Public Prosecutions, said while the National Prosecuting Authority takes this matter very seriously, the case has not been dismissed but has been withdrawn because there’s insufficient evidence for now.

“Serious consideration is being given to possibly holding an inquest into the death of the deceased.

“This is certainly not the end of the matter, we just need more work to be done.

“The family is being kept informed by the prosecutor,” she said.

The Sunday Independent

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