Man convicted for murder of lover whose remains were found in veld

17 August 2017 - 14:47 By Naledi Shange
Gavel on the auction block. File photo.
Gavel on the auction block. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

While SANDF member Zwelabantu Ngubeni had alleged that he had blacked out and woken up to find his hands around his girlfriend Zestah September’s neck‚ the Johannesburg High Court heard evidence that she suffered numerous stab wounds too‚ one of which measured 45cm.

On Thursday‚ the court convicted Ngubeni of murder‚ defeating the ends of justice‚ violating a corpse and illegal possession of a firearm.

Judge Leicester Adams on Thursday described the incident as “a disturbingly common practice; one of many evils which have plagued society almost on a daily basis”. Twenty-seven-year-old September’s charred remains were found in open veld in Lenasia on January 2‚ 2016.

Ngubeni‚ her live-in lover‚ had reported her missing‚ alleging that she had left with a friend in a red car on December 29‚ shortly after they had returned home from an outing with another couple.

For two days‚ September’s mother‚ Mono‚ comforted her daughter’s boyfriend‚ assuring him that she would return.

“I took him like my own son‚ especially because I do not have boys of my own‚” she said.

On January 2‚ the family’s hopes were dashed when they were asked to go and identify her body.

Three days later as police‚ friends and family accompanied Ngubeni to his home to fetch September’s belongings‚ they found traces of blood on the mattress‚ which had since been turned over‚ a pillow‚ duvet inner and on the bottom of the curtains.

Despite this‚ Ngubeni had pleaded not guilty to murder‚ offering no explanation for his plea. Meanwhile‚ Siyabonga Lituka and Onela Gamzana‚ who had spent the fateful day with the couple‚ revealed how things turned sour when they arrived at a “chilling” spot in Soweto and September bumped into a man who had previously asked her out. She gave attention to the man and stroked his head‚ leaving Ngubeni disturbed.

Gamzana had testified that earlier that day‚ he noticed that one of September’s ears were red. When asked what had happened‚ she alleged that Ngubeni had pinched her.

Another couple who had spent Christmas Day with Ngubeni and September claimed the couple had a strained and toxic relationship. They testified that the couple had gotten into an argument in front of them.

Ngubeni’s version to the court‚ however‚ was that he was in love with September and he had “lost it” when she confessed she was still seeing a man.

He claimed that she had said hurtful things‚ including that this man‚ known as Nhlanhla‚ was able to “satisfy her.”

Delivering his judgment‚ Adams said Ngubeni was “a poor witness who tried to correct his evidence when he realised his answers were incriminating.”