Court rejects guilty plea of teenager implicated in double murder of neighbours

The court has rejected a guilty plea by a teenager implicated in the October 2020 murder of a Durban mom and her teenage daughter. File photo.
SENTENCED: The court has rejected a guilty plea by a teenager implicated in the October 2020 murder of a Durban mom and her teenage daughter. File photo.

The case of a Durban teenager who is implicated in the double murder of her neighbours will go to trial after the judge rejected her guilty plea.

This emerged at the Durban high court on Wednesday when the teenager appeared before judge Esther Steyn to make her plea. The teenager had been charged alongside Slindile Zamisa and her daughter Andile Zamisa for the kidnapping, murder and disposal of the bodies of their neighbour Simangele Simamane and her 12-year-old daughter Sbongakonke Mthembu in October 2020.

The victims were murdered in the family home of the Zamisas in Newlands, Durban, before their bodies were stuffed in a suitcase and dumped in KwaDabeka, 10km away.

Nomfundo Ngcobo, who is Slindile’s stepdaughter, and Sthembiso Lamula have since been sentenced to 20 years and six years respectively for their roles in the murders.

The court decided to separate the teenager’s case from that of the Zamisa women after her representatives said she intended to plead guilty.

In her plea on Wednesday, the teenager — who was 13 at the time — admitted she played role in the kidnapping, murder and disposing of the bodies of the victims and knowing it was unlawful.

Detailing the events, she said Mthembu had come to her home requesting she accompany her to the shop. Ngcobo and Andile Zamisa arrived while they were talking and questioned Mthembu on why she had come to their house since it was agreed that she and the accused teenager should not be together because they were troublesome.

Slindile then arrived and asked the same thing before sending for Mthembu's mother to be called to their home while they went with Mthembu inside the house.

She said they locked the gates when Simamambe went inside to make sure she could not leave.

They then interrogated Simamane about a prophecy that she was involved in the murder of the teenager’s father and Slindile Zamisa's husband in 2012.

After Simamane denied involvement and promised not to report the matter to the police if they let them go, the teen, Andile Zamisa and Nomfundo Ngcobo started assaulting her.

Slindile Zamisa then told them to kill Simamame. They assaulted her with their hands, a pipe and boiling water before the teen and Nomfundo Ngcobo struck her on the head and face with a vase. She then confessed to having pressed Simamane's neck with a spade, before strangling her with a rope — together with Andile Zamisa — until she stopped moving.

She said when they left the house they found Mthembu, who had been with Slindile Zamisa, dead with a nightgown belt tied around her neck.

They stuffed the bodies into a suitcase and went to dump them in KwaDabeka, with the help of Lamula before going to cleanse themselves in the sea.

She said Slindile Zamisa  told them what to say to the police, and they made false statements.

Despite the police telling them not to relocate because investigations were still ongoing, the teen said they relocated to a relative in Johannesburg to evade the police.

Judge Steyn did not accept that the teen fully understood the implications of her plea and the matter was postponed to a provisional date of May 22.

Meanwhile, Slindile Zamisa and Andile Zamisa will know their fate on Thursday when the Durban high court hands down judgment in their matter.



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