Two guilty of murdering Kamma Park pensioner

FOUND GUILTY: Junior Lungisa, left, and Sizwe Jika in the Port Elizabeth High Court
FOUND GUILTY: Junior Lungisa, left, and Sizwe Jika in the Port Elizabeth High Court
Image: Eugene Coetzee

The two men accused of the brutal attack on an 86-year-old woman — who later died of complications from her injuries — were convicted of her murder in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Thursday.

Sizwe Jika, 28, and Junior Lungisa, 20, were both convicted of the murder of Anne Maria Smit, 86, as well as housebreaking with the intent to steal and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Jika is serving a 16-year prison sentence for six housebreakings committed between 2011 and 2018.

He is also accused of the July 2018 murder of Brymore Park resident Kelly Bain, 26, and the May 2018 murder of Summerstrand resident Ann Ferreira, 83.

At the beginning of their trial Jika pleaded guilty to the charge of housebreaking, but claimed it was Lungisa who had assaulted Smit with a hammer and an axe after she found them rummaging through her house in Martha Street, Kamma Park.

During the trial both men pointed fingers at each other, with Lungisa claiming he never set foot in the house after Jika allegedly told him they were at Smit's house to collect tools he had been promised.

Jika claimed they had both entered the house with the intention to steal, but that Lungisa was the one who had hit Smit over the head with tools they had used to try to open the  locked safe.

During his testimony Jika alleged that when he asked Lungisa what he was doing when he hit Smit over the head, Lungisa said he was getting rid of evidence.

Smit survived the May 28 2018 attack but after being discharged from hospital on June 7 2018, was readmitted on June 9 after a fall at home.

She died on June 27 from complications suffered after the initial attack.

Sentencing proceedings are expected to begin on April 14.

In his testimony Jika further admitted to being an expert at housebreaking, telling the court that over a 10-year period he had broken into as many as 100 houses.

It is alleged Jika stabbed young mother Bain to death during a botched burglary on July 25 2018 at her Brymore home.

Two months before Bain’s murder, Jika allegedly broke in to the Kuruman Kloof home of Ferreira sometime between May 10 and 13.

Ferreira was found beaten and strangled in her kitchen after police found her green Opel Corsa damaged and abandoned — with the registration plates and licence disc missing — in bushes near Despatch on May 13 2018.

After his September 2018 arrest for Smit’s murder, Jika escaped from custody at the Walmer police station.

He was rearrested in  Aliwal North in October 2018.