Palesa Madiba's family says murder accused is 'playing delaying tactics'
Even though murder-accused Dumisani Mkhwanazi is in custody pending the outcome of his trial, the alleged killer did not appear yesterday at the South Gauteng High Court for what Palesa's family believed would be the start of attaining closure for her brutal death.
Palesa, who was a 19-year-old second-year student at the University of Johannesburg, died in August 2013 during the Women's Day long weekend after visiting her school friend, Tshidi Mkhwanazi, in Soweto.
Tshidi is accused killer Mkhwanazi's niece. Palesa's badly decomposed body was found in 2015 buried in a shallow grave at the back of the Mkhwanazi family home in Phiri, Soweto.
“The accused is not in court, my lord. We are not sure why he is not in court,” said a baffled state advocate Faghre Mohamed.
Mkhwanazi, who was eventually arrested in July last year, is believed to not have responded to calls from prison wardens inside his cell when other accused were being rounded up for their respective court appearances.
Palesa's aunt, Malesela Moshidi, slammed Mkhwanazi's non-appearance, saying the accused was “playing delaying tactics. We just want to find out what happened and we get closure and he gets his punishment".
Madiba was reported missing after she spent a weekend in Phiri, Soweto, at Tshidi's home.
She had been expected back home in Diepkloof after the weekend, but she never arrived.
The search for the teenager went on for more than two years until 2015, when police - acting on a tip off - finally recovered human remains in a shallow grave in Mkhwanazi's backyard.
Mkhwanazi is expected again in court on Thursday.