Luyanda Botha was given three life sentences for the murder and rape of UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - “Nene’s murder started a movement in South Africa to end gender-based violence. We have no sympathy for this man. We believe he has done this before. We also believe that he only confessed because the police had such a good case against him and not because he suddenly became a good person.”

These were the words of Vuyani Mrwetyana, the uncle of Uyinene Mrwetyana, 19, outside the Western Cape High Court following the handing down of three life sentences to former post office worker Luyanda Botha, 42, for the double rape and murder of the former UCT student at the Clareinch post office in August.

The uncle heaped praise on the Saps and the prosecution team for the speed with which the trial was concluded.

It took just under three months for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to finalise the murder and rape trial and the Director of Public Prosecutions in the Western Cape, Rodney de Kock, has committed his office to speedily solving such cases.

Botha was also given a five-year sentence for obstructing the administration of justice after he dumped Uyinene’s body in an open field in Lingelethu-West, Khayelitsha, and set the body alight in an attempt to hide evidence. Botha will not be eligible for parole until he has served at least 25 years.

His statement, parts of which were as read out in court, said: “I am liable for my actions. I intended to rape and kill.”

Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe, described the murder as “callous” and “vicious”, adding that Uyinene had been “cut down in the prime of her life”.

The court also heard Botha had a previous conviction for robbery for which he had been given an eight-year sentence in 1999.

Murdered UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana. 

De Kock appealed to journalists not to take pictures of the convict, saying that he had complained about being “overwhelmed”.

Botha entered into a plea agreement with the State, resulting in the speedy conclusion of the trial.

NPA spokesperson, Eric Ntabazalila said while the aim was to conclude such trials as quickly as possible, doing so depends on various role players.

“It’s difficult to say how quickly cases can be finalised as each case has its own merits. It’s also important to note that Botha entered the plea agreement because of the mounting evidence against him and not because he suddenly became born again,” he said.

Botha told Judge Salie-Hlophe that he entered into the plea agreement willingly and that he understood the charges against him.

The court heard how Uyinene fought bravely against the sexual advances made by Botha when she found herself alone with him in the Clareinch post office in Claremont on August 24.

The young woman had gone to the post office to collect a parcel of clothes she had ordered online. The court heard that Botha hit Uyinene with a blunt object, “deliberately targeting her head”.

After raping and murdering her, Botha went to a nearby bar where he had drinks and returned to the post office the next day to dispose of the body.

Botha is married but is estranged from his wife.

Weekend Argus