'I was going to tell the truth', says man accused of killing Joburg sex workers

Sifiso Mkhwanazi faces six counts of murder after six decomposed female bodies were found in a Johannesburg building.
Sifiso Mkhwanazi faces six counts of murder after six decomposed female bodies were found in a Johannesburg building.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Sifiso Mkhwanazi, the man accused of killing six women in Johannesburg on Wednesday told the court that he had no intention to lie and had always planned on telling the truth.

He told the court that his father's statement that he needed to tell the truth as the rest of the family had washed their hands of him, and he would be left alone with no support were not what pushed him to confess. 

Mkhwanazi was the third and last person to take the stand in a trial-within-a-trial at the high court sitting in Palm Ridge on Wednesday.

His father, Mark Khumalo, and investigation officer Det-Sgt Bongani Mbonambi had testified before him. 

“I was going to tell the truth,” he said when asked by the state during the cross-examination after he initially told his counsel that he was coerced into confessing.

The 21-year-old is accused of killing several sex workers between April and October 2022

He is facing six counts of murder, seven counts of rape, six counts of defeating or obstructing the administration of justice, robbery with aggravating circumstances, and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges but admitted to killing women using an arm choke. He tendered an admission in terms of section 220 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

He denied raping the women and alleged it was consensual sex with the agreement of money for sex. He denied planning the murders.   

When asked by state prosecutor Leswikane Mashabela what would motivate his father to force him to confess, he replied that he didn't know but his father had told him to tell the truth.

He then turned his earlier version around and said that he wasn't intimidated to confess about the murders. He said at the stage he made the alleged confession to his father, he had just been arrested and was scared.

“He [my father] told me about supporting me and that no-one wanted anything to do with me. I had just been arrested and needed clothes and money to buy food,” he said.

He said his father told him that if he didn't tell the truth, no-one would help him as everyone had already given up on him.

Mashabela asked had Mkhwanazi's father not uttered those words would he have confessed, and he replied that he wouldn't have confessed. Mkhwanazi said he told a lawyer who represented him at the Johannesburg magistrate's court his version but the lawyer withdrew from representing him.

“I was going to tell the truth,” he said, when asked if he would have not made the alleged confession.

The state submitted that it should be allowed to lead the evidence of the alleged confession in court and there wasn't any reason Mkhwanazi's father would lie [therefore] his alleged confession was made freely and voluntarily.

“The state is asking that the confession be allowed in court,” said Mashabela, who indicated that it was just a few aspects of the alleged confession he needed to put to the witness Khumalo in the main trial.

Mkhwanazi's lawyer, Vuyo Maqetuka, is expected to make his submission on Thursday when the trial resumes. 



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