Not guilty plea is no surprise

Not guilty plea is no surprise: Madiba family

The murder trial for slain UJ student Palesa Madiba is expected to officially start tomorrow after several delays.

Not guilty plea is no surprise

The family of slain UJ student Palesa Madiba said it comes as no surprise to them that the man accused of killing their daughter, Dumisani Mkhwanazi pleaded not guilty to all the charges levelled against him.

Mkhwanazi briefly appeared in the High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday 11 November 2020.

The matter has been postponed to Thursday for the trial to begin. The state is expected to present evidence and witnesses are also expected to take the stand on Thursday.

Madiba family’s spokesperson Thabiso Tsoledi said it was expected that Mkhwanazi would have pleaded not guilty.

“ We’ve all been witnessing a lot of court proceedings on Tv and I think it’s not only expected that he would have pleaded not guilty, primarily because he had previously stated that he pleads not guilty, we’ll leave that to the court to prove and hopefully justice will prevail, “ said Tsoledi.

Madiba family spokesperson Thabiso Tsoledi.

Furthermore, the family said they are relieved that the trial is ready to begin.

“I think we are certainly happy that the trial is beginning, this is a step in a very long road that we’ve walked, a step that is beginning to give us closure.”

The accused faces charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, defeating the ends of justice and possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition.

The trial has been met with several postponements as Mkhwanazi failed to secure legal representation.

The previous postponement was a result of his lawyer Dominic Thinane not showing up in court, it is alleged that this was as a result of non-payment by Mkhwanazi, this came as he declined legal aid several times.

Judge Prince Nyathi put his foot down and said there will be no more postponements as a result of the accused failing to secure legal representation, or the accused will run the risk of representing himself.

Mkhwanazi was arrested in 2019, six years after Madiba was murdered.

She was last seen visiting a friend Tshidi Mkhwanazi for a sleepover on the 12th August 2013. She is the niece to the accused. Tshidi had told the family that she didn’t know of Madiba’s whereabouts and that she had left her in the house on the Monday that she was meant to leave. Tshidi stated that she had left for work, leaving her friend in the house after they had discussed that she would leave the keys for the main house with the accused, who slept in an outside room on the same property

Her remains which were buried in a shallow grave were later found in December 2016, after a neighbour noticed an arm protruding from the ground.