Photo: Supplied / Africa News Agency (ANA)

Uyinene Mrwetyana: Morbid details of her murder emerge in court

The murder that sparked a movement returned to court this week. More shocking details of Uyinene Mrwetyana’s death have been made public.


Photo: Supplied / Africa News Agency (ANA)

The Wynberg Magistrate’s Court near Cape Town has learned of some shocking new details in the Uyinene Mrwetyana murder case. Luyanda Botha, a 24-year-old post office worker, is accused of killing and sexually assaulting the university student more than two months ago.

Who is Uyinene Mrwetyana, the victim of Luyanda Botha?

Uyinene Mrwetyana was a film and media student at the University of Cape Town (UCT). She visited the Clareinch Post Office in August, when she was told by an employee to return later that day due to the power being off.

When she returned, Luyanda Botha was the only one there and it is was established that the employee brutally raped and then bludgeoned to death. The man allegedly confessed to police after he was arrested and shared the illicit details with them about the last hours before her death.

Grim details of Uyinene’s death revealed

However, the court has head an even more vile version of events on Thursday, completely stripped bare of any bias or defence testimony. The indictment that senior counsel for the State, Rodney de Kock, handed over to the court contains a shocking level of information that exposes the sheer depravity of this crime. It reveals:

  • Uyinene was bludgeoned to death with an industrial scale, suffering repeated blows to the head.
  • He violently raped the victim twice before killing her, the state alleges
  • Her body was shoved inside a large safe at the Post Office, and left overnight by Botha.
  • When he decided to dump the body, it was revealed he burnt her remains and used some sort of “accelerant” – likely gasoline – to ensure she would combust quickly. Uyinene was found buried in a shallow grave near Khayelitsha.

The murder that sparked a movement

The death of Uyinene came at a time where South Africa’s fractured collective psyche was on the edge. A wave of xenophobic and gender-based violence dominated the headlines at the end of August, and the first week of September saw tens of thousands of South Africans take part in large-scale protests against the epidemic of femicide.

The #AmINext demonstrations have already forced the government’s hand, who have proposed a series of policies to help prevent and limit GBV in Mzansi. Sadly, it took a death this violent to prompt presidential intervention, and the subsequent emergency measures.

The matter involving Uyinene Mrwetyana has been referred to the Western Cape High for pre-trial purposes next Friday, where the official dates for criminal proceedings are likely to be announced. For the meantime, Luyanda Botha will remain behind bars.