Sentencing delay in rape, murder case

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The sentencing of two men convicted of the brutal attack on a 22-year-old Nelson Mandela University student and the murder of her 28-year-old companion was postponed in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Tuesday after it emerged that a court-appointed interpreter was not available to translate the proceedings.Thulani Jusaya, 20, and an 18-year-old who cannot be named as per a previous court order, were convicted in February of the August 2016 murder of Thabang Ngwekazi, the kidnapping of Ngwekazi and the woman student as well as robbery with aggravating circumstances, among other charges.A third suspect charged in the case, Xola Njoloza, 27, was acquitted on all charges against him including murder and rape after his defence counsel, Nash Vandayar, brought a section 174 application claiming that there was not sufficient evidence to charge him and that certain statements should be deemed inadmissible.After the conclusion of the state’s case, judge Elna Revelas declared a statement obtained by police from Njoloza was inadmissible.Revelas had found that the state did not have sufficient evidence against Njoloza and that the alleged confession statement given to police after his arrest was not given freely.Njoloza was in custody for 2½ years before he was released and all charges against him dropped.From the onset of the trial Jusaya had pleaded guilty to all the charges against him bar murder, while the 18-year-old denied any guilt.In her judgment, Revelas said that Jusaya and the 18year-old were poor witnesses and that they had contradicted themselves when giving evidence in court.Specifically, Revelas stated that the version of how Ngwekazi was shot and killed according to Jusaya was fabricated and untruthful.Ngwekazi was shot execution-style at Brighton Beach on August 13 2016 after he and the woman student were hijacked and kidnapped while parked in Prince Alfred Street, North End.Revelas said it had been proven that the woman had been raped by both men before being dropped off in Central.Sentencing is expected to be delivered on Thursday.

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