Mkhwanazi to still face bulk of rape, murder charges

Judge Cassim Moosa on Wednesday dismissed the application by Sifiso Mkhwanazi to be  excused from some of the criminal charges he’s facing.

Mkhwanazi is undergoing trial in the Johannesburg High Court sitting in Palm Ridge for multiple charges of rape, murder, robbery, and defeating or obstructing the administration of justice. 

Mkhwanazi, who is also accused of the murder of six sex workers in Johannesburg, made a Section 174 application of the Criminal Procedure Act to have some of his charges dismissed. The court has, however, exonerated him on one count of rape, which is from a June 2021 case.

On Wednesday, Mkhwanazi entered the courtroom with leg shackles clanging against one another, drawing eerie attention with every step he took. 

Red and teary eyes

The 21-year-old’s eyes looked red and teary, and he once again gripped his hands together as his right leg shivered and his right hand held his head as he sat down.

As he handed the judgment, Judge Moosa said: “I have carefully applied my mind to the evidence on count 13, where the accused defeated the ends of justice.”

In 2021, then 19 years old, Mkhwanazi was arrested for the rape of a Zimbabwean sex worker, Amanda Dlamini. He was released 10 months later, when the case was withdrawn. By his own admission, this case sparked a rape and killing spree in revenge.

“I killed them because when there was a disagreement, I feared that they would open a rape case and I would go back to jail,” Mkhwanazi said in his confession.

His lawyer Vuyo Maqetuka argued that the state lacks evidence to prove that Mkhwanazi raped the deceased.

Maqetuka further submitted that his client did not conceal the body, saying he had intended for it to be found. He argued against the state’s allegation that his client targeted Zimbabwean sex workers. Maqetuka questioned why, when Mkhwanazi went to pick up murder victim Joyce Moyo on the street, she didn’t pick up Miss A.

Zimbabwean sex workers

Miss A, also a Zimbabwean sex worker, testified during the trial about the last day she saw Moyo and how she saw a similar vehicle that picked her up at the panel beating workshop.

“If his target was specifically Zimbabwean women, why did he not pick up that witness?”

Maqetuka added that of the six murdered women, three were identified as Zimbabwean nationals. The others, however, have not been identified because of their advanced state of decomposition.

“How can we say, then, that all of them were Zimbabweans?

The state prosecutor, Leswikane Mashabela, stated that the accused should enter the witness box as the complaints of rape are deceased.

“Mkhwanazi wants to run away from the rape charges,” Mashabela said.

Judge Moosa has given an instruction to both the defence and the state to submit their heads of arguments by Monday.

Mkhwanazi was remanded in custody.

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