Man convicted for murder of fellow student in South Africa

In a verdict that reflects the somber reality of gender-based violence, the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Local Division, Johannesburg, has found 29-year-old Ntsikelelo Saki guilty of the premeditated murder of Mbali Hlongwane, a student at Ekurhuleni West College Campus. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Regional Spokesperson for Gauteng Local Division, Phindi Mjonondwane, conveyed that they intend to advocate for the most severe sentence on the 11th of August, 2023.

The backdrop to this tragic incident was the shared environment of learning at Ekurhuleni West College campus in Katlehong, where both the accused and the deceased were students. A statement released by the NPA highlights the sequence of events that led to this heartbreaking outcome.

It was a series of disputes that escalated to a devastating climax. Saki’s accusation against Hlongwane of recording him urinating at a tavern and subsequently sharing the video on the students’ WhatsApp group ignited a confrontation between the two. Another quarrel erupted, this time regarding the eligibility criteria for taking an exam. The deceased celebrated her qualification and shared her joy on the WhatsApp group, which incited enthusiasm among fellow students.

In contrast, the accused expressed a contrary sentiment in the group, admonishing them not to rejoice since some students didn’t meet the exam criteria. On the fateful day of the examination, October 25, 2021, Saki lurked at the campus gate, concealing a knife beneath his jacket. A fellow student noticed his unusual attire given the heat and inquired, inadvertently discovering his chilling intentions. He disclosed that he awaited Hlongwane to “take her soul.”

Aware of the danger she was in, Hlongwane was forewarned by her peers about the accused’s sinister motives. She exited the campus and engaged in a conversation with Saki. Tragically, as she turned to leave, he attacked her, stabbing her multiple times. The assailant fled the scene, eventually being apprehended in Cape Town.

The NPA commended the efforts of State Advocate Siyabonga Futshana and Investigating Officer Constable Motaung for ensuring that Saki faces accountability for his heinous crime. This incident starkly highlights the pervasive scourge of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) that continues to afflict South Africa. The NPA vowed to pursue the harshest sentence for Saki on August 11, 2023, reflecting the nation’s unwavering commitment to battling this dire issue and seeking justice for its victims.