Swazi serial killer could face death penalty
Published in: Legalbrief Today
Date: Fri 25 March 2011
Issue No: 2765
A Swazi man has been convicted of murdering 28 people, mostly women and children, making him the deadliest serial killer on record in the tiny African kingdom.
According to a report on the IoL site, David Simelane has spent a decade behind bars and his trial has dragged on over five years. Sentencing was set for 1 April, when Simelane could face death.
During the trial, Simelane claimed that he had confessed to the killing under duress, telling the court: 'Police kill people every day in this country.' His lawyer Mduduzi Mabila said he intended to appeal.
Other article : http://www.observer.org.sz/index.php?news=22727
Current Date/Time: Fri Mar 25 2011 16:22:19 GMT+0100
DAVID GUILTY OF 28 COUNTS OF MURDER, WINS ONLY SIX
24 March, 2011 10:00:00
By Sabelo Mamba and Sibonginkosi Mamba
SERIAL killer David Thabo Simelane has been found guilty of murder. Simelane, who was facing murder 34 murder charges, was yesterday convicted of 28 counts. He will know his sentence next Friday.
He was acquitted on six after spending 10 years in custody without his unduly protracted trial brought to finality.
High Court Judge Jacobus Annandale based his 232-page bumper verdict on confession statements Simelane made to the late Manzini Magistrate Charles Masango and former Manzini Magistrate Nkosinathi Nkonyane (now Industrial Court Judge) after his arrest in April 2001 in Nhlangano.
Initially, Simelane was facing 35 murder charges. One was withdrawn by the Crown during the course of the trial.
High Court Judge Jacobus Annandale said the identification of personal property which used to belong to missing relatives that were recovered either in the immediate areas where the human remains were found or from a place where Simelane had taken the police to, “justifies the only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn the deceased persons are those lost relatives who used to own the personal belongings.”
The judge also stated that it was clear that Simelane killed the women out of revenge after he was allegedly incarcerated for a rape he never committed. It is clear, the judge noted, Simelane was angry.Evidence
The judge said it was this body of evidence which proved the commissioning of the individual crimes, which Simelane confessed to, fortified by himself when he pointed out the different scenes to the police.
“When relatives positively swear to the fact that particular items used to belong to a missing person and it is not gainsayed, such uncontroverted evidence readily be dismissed at a whim,” remarked the judge.
Justice Annandale observed that the well established patterns of evidence were present in all counts, from the very beginning when the female victims were enticed by the accused to take up employment somewhere.
He said a key witness in this trial was Detective Solomon Mavuso (PW 79).
“His evidence served to detail the overall process from the time when reports about missing persons started to escalate, the discovery of human remains in isolated areas, the collection of evidence which culminated in a firm description of the suspect person, then the events which followed after the arrest of the accused, the confession, pointing out, evidence gathering, the identification processes and ultimately the indictment of the accused. His evidence is voluminous and detailed,” he said.
Simelane was represented by Mduduzi ‘Tsotsi’ Mabila while Director of Public Prosecutions Mumcy Dlamini appeared for the Crown.David murdered victims out of revenge - Judge Annandale
DAVID Thabo Simelane murdered his victims out of revenge after being previously convicted for raping a woman, High Court Judge Jacobus Annandale accepts.
Remarked Justice Annandale; “Although the establishment of motive for the crime of murder does not carry remotely the same prominence in our law as contrast with American jurisprudence, the accused has volunteered his motive for the multiple murders as part of his confession.”
The judge said Simelane, in his confession statement, said it was out of revenge for having been incarcerated for the crime of rape which he did not commit.
“He admits to having robbed the same woman but he says that he was grossly and unfairly treated by also having wrongly been convicted and imprisoned for having raped the same woman, hence his revenge,” he said.
“The court accepts that he murdered the victims out of revenge. This dispels the often mooted diverse theories and speculation in the media that he had some more sinister motives, or that he was assisted by highly placed persons, or that he harvested body parts for equally sinister, undisclosed but highly placed individuals,” said the judge.Mabila to appeal
DAVID Simelane’s lawyer Mduduzi Tsotsi Mabila has stated that he will appeal the verdict of the case of his client.
Simelane was found guilty of killing 28 women.
Mabila made his intentions known soon after judgment had been delivered. He argued that a suspect cannot be convicted on the basis of a confession.
“There must be evidence,” he argued.
He further stated that the said confession was vague and was allegedly forged. He stated though that he was still going to go through the written judgment.
During trial, Simelane stated that he made the confession under duress.
He said police officers had told him what to say before the magistrate and threatened him with death if he ever deviated from what he had been ordered to say.
Simelane told the court that the late Superintendent Jomo Mavuso actually told him that he was going to die at the hands of the police if he did not admit to having killed the missing people.
According to Simelane, another top detective, the late Khethokwakhe Ndlangamandla, was annoyed when he found him alive at Sigodvweni police after being suffocated by police under his (Ndlangamandla) instruction....David was ready for verdict - Mabila
Mduduzi Mabila disclosed yesterday.
Mabila said his client was prepared for anything thing.
“I had indicated to him that there is no draw in a trial and he was ready,” he revealed. Simelane was found guilty in 28 counts. At present, Mabila stated that he had the duty to explain to his client what the verdict means and what the next step is.Senators share different views on David verdict
SENATORS expressed different views on serial killer David Simelane’s guilty verdict.
Whilst Senator Victor Malambe said it would be unfair if the serial killer would be sentenced without him explaining why he killed the 28 women, Senator Moi Moi Masilela said lawyers dragged the case for personal gains. Some of the senators said justice has been delayed, stating that though it was a good thing that the case would be put to rest it was not going to bring total closure to the relatives.
Here is what the senators had to say:
Moi Moi Maselela – “David could have been charged for killing just one person. Lawyers delayed the case so that they would make money. Bebadla ngalo lelicala.We are hoping that there would be a fair sentence.”
Victor Malambe -“David should explain why he killed those women so that the relatives would have closure. We want to know if he was sent by someone, what was pushing him behind, these are some of the questions that have to be answered.”
Nozibele Bujela – “As a mother I am happy about the judgment but I am hoping that the sentence would also be satisfying. I believe that this shows that the case would be finally put to rest. as a woman I am happy because David targeted women. We are hoping that he would not be able to hurt anyone as he is going behind bars.”
Winnie Nxumalo – “Mine is to say that justice delayed is justice denied. The justice that has been done might not serve the intended purpose, especially to the relatives. The justice system in this country is slow and we hope this would change soon. We hope the justice would speed up so that the sentences would be relevant.”
Ndileka – “Glory be to God, we are very happy about the verdict. This judgment would not have been possible if it was not for the power of God. We hope that the sentence would be passed soon and it would not be light.”
Themba Msibi – “The fact that there is progress in the case is comforting. The case has dragged on for a long time and we are hoping no other case would drag for this long. We are just hoping that the sentence would be fair.”
Edgar Hillary – “I will only be able to comment on the case once it has been finalised. I will reserve my comments for now.”‘Late Khethokwakhe was an outstanding witness’
LATE police top Detective Senior Superintendent Khethokwakhe Ndlangamandla, who was killed in a car accident during the course of the trial, was one of the best witnesses to ever testify during David Simalane’s trial.
The judge said Ndlangamandla was the officer-in charge of the investigation team while Sergeant Solomon Mavuso was a member.
He observed that Ndlangamandla’s whole demeanour, cool calm and collected, radiated a confidence in the accuracy and veracity of his evidence like few others.
“He displayed a most remarkable capacity of memory to logically, chronologically and systematically testify as to the events he was called upon to present in court,” he said.
“He was unfazed by numerous interruptions. He was also subjected to an enormously protracted barrage of cross-examination, much of which was entirely irrelevant or which could not advance the matter any further. He was questioned in minute and often times repetitive details.”
He said Ndlangamandla never lost his patience or displayed any detectable signs of annoyance, arrogance or impatience, giving full and comprehensive responses to everything he was asked.
“From time to time he asked of the court to refresh his memory from notes which he made at the time of the investigative process, which was repeatedly objected to by Mr. Howe (then defence counsel Lucky Howe).”‘Lucky Howe wrongly accused Ndlangamandla, Mavuso’
FORMER defence counsel Lucky Howe wrongly accused the late Khethokwakhe Ndlangamandla and Sergeant Solomon Mavuso at times of reading from their notes to accurately convey their evidence.
He said both Ndlangamandla and Mavuso were regularly castigated by counsel for their need to verify from notes which they personally made during the course of the investigation. “The duration of cross-examination of each of these two police officers was tedious and protracted as it ever could be, bordering on and often going beyond the point of badgering and simply exhausting an exacerbated witness,” he remarked. “Despite this, both police officers never fell for the laborious trap which was being set up for them. Both continued to courteous, long suffering and consistent. Both left a lasting impression that the evidence which they gave can safely be relied upon as full and accurate renditions of what they came to testify about. “Most unfortunately, Mr. Ndlangamandla, who had entered retirement from the police service by the time he testified as witness, suffered serious health problems.
“He regularly had to undergo kidney dialysis in hospital to avoid renal failure. Despite this, his sense of duty prevailed and in cognisance of the importance of his evidence and his sense of duty, he attended court as often as he could and for as long as he could.Judge Jacobus Annandale’s conclusion on each count
*COUNT I and 2 (deceased Thandi Dlamini and Kwanda Khanya, respectively) “It might be very well have been that one Sipho Dlamini took the late Thandi Dlamini and her child, as well as others whom he accused equally stated to have been taken by Dlamini, but yet again, it does not serve the purpose of also inferring that Sipho Dlamini was somehow also responsible for the deaths nor did the accused blame him for that. This imputes no blame on Sipho Dlamini. The accused confessed to a magistrate that there was one Thandi Dlamini, who was with a child. She was from St. Philip’s and was his sister-in-law. He had promised her work and that he killed her and the child by strangling them at Bhunya Forest. The Crown has proved the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt in respect of counts one and two.
*COUNT 3 Withdrawn by the prosecution prior to plea due to duplication of identities of the deceased person referred in count 1.
* COUNT 4 (deceased Vosho Dlamini) “Vosho Dlamini was referred to by the accused as his girlfriend over a year, with a very serious relationship between them, not just a casual encounter. What is relevant and decisive is the confession of the accused wherein he stated with regards then that there was Vosho Dlamini, who was his girlfriend from St. Philipp’s. He also went with her to Macetjeni where she strangled her with his hands until she died.
*Count 5 (deceased Zanele Thwala) “The deceased was another lover of the accused, who not only shared her bed and rented flat with him but whose advanced pregnancy allegedly was to render him the father. When taken in conjunction the confession of the accused where he said that ‘Zanele Thwala of Mambane was my live-in lover: ‘We stayed at Luyengo. We left for Luyengo to Malkerns. We were just walking until we got to Bhunya forest where I strangled her with my hands until she died.’ There remains no reasonable doubt that the accused also murdered this victim.”
Count 6 (deceased Twana Dlamini) “The deceased was the sister of Vosho and Thandi Dlamini. The accused said Twana Dlamini was from St. Philipp’s, as all relevant witness stated. In his confession he said ‘I promised her a job and I told her to meet me at Manzini Bus Rank. She came and we met. I then proceeded with her to Malkerns where I strangled her with my hands to death.’ The combination of evidence in this court with nothing gainsay it save for a bare blanket denial of wrongdoing in any of the multitude of charges, culminates in a finding that in count 6, the Crown has also established the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.”
Count 7 (deceased Dumsile Tsabedze) “The accused shared a flat with the accused at Malkerns. The extraneous evidence on which the crown relies to prove that this offence actually has been committed is on all four with the contents of the confession wherein the accused said that: ‘Then there was Dumsile Tsabedze from Ncangosini area with whom we stayed together. She was my live-in lover. I left with her and told her we were going to my parental home. We used to stay together at Malkerns. When we got to Capha Mountain, I strangled her to death with my hands.’ Within nothing to controvert this part from a general distancing by the accused from any wrongdoing anywhere, the end result inevitably is that the guilt of the accused in count 7 has also been proved beyond a reasonable of doubt.”
Count 8 and 9 (deceased Fikile Motsa and her one year-old baby Lindokuhle Motsa) “The accused confessed to the judicial officer in the following words: ‘Then there was Fikile Motsa from Sidwala area. She was with her child who was one year or just above one year old. I found her at Manzini bus rank. She said she was looking for work. I promised her work and we left Manzini to Malkerns. We got to Golden area where I killed her and the child by strangling them.’ These chilling words prove the answer as to how the mother and her baby ended up dead instead of reaching their original destination.”
Count 10 (deceased Phakamile Vilakati) “He confessed to the late Magistrate Masango that ‘There was another from Kukhulumeni in Mankayane whose surname is Vilakati. I went with her after I had promised her a job. I got with her a Capha where I strangle her to death.’ Although the confession does not include a first name, it is the only Vilakati he mentioned.
Count 11 and 12 (deceased Rose Nunn and her 13-month-old baby Nothando Khumalo) “The accused confessed that: ‘there was Num (sic) by surname whom I found at the same park next to the City Council offices in Manzini. She had a child with her of about 18 to 20 months. She was looking for a job and I promised her on. We left for Malkerns and we got to Malkerns forest I strangled her with her child.’ The spelling and sound of Num and Nunn are so similar that it is of no consequence.”
Count 13 (deceased Sanele Tsabedze) “The accused stated that: “There was another one who stayed at Matsapha but was from Malindza. Her surname was Tsabedze. I found her at the Manzini Bus Rank looking for a job. I promised her one and we proceeded to Malkerns. I went with her to Bhunya forest where I strangle and stabbed her to death.Some of the highlights of David Simelane’s case
1. Lawyer Lucky Howe is fired as pro deo counsel for Simelane but the latter then engages him as a private attorney.
2. Howe files in an application for the judge’s recusal from the matter which he loses. He appeals, but while waiting for the verdict of the appeal, in January 2011, ‘Tsotsi’ Mabila is appointed as pro deo for Simelane. Reasons advanced by the court are that he is delaying the case by his continuous absence.
3. On his first day in the matter, Mabila applies that eight witnesses be recalled and this is done.
4. David Simelane speaks for the first time since his arrest and tells the court that he actually killed no one
5. Simelane reveals that he was actually a go-between and that his role was to connect the missing people with one Sipho Dlamini of Logoba who was an employment agent
6. Director of Public Prosecutions, Mumcy Dlamini weeps in court as she narrates the murder of one Zanele Thwala who was pregnant when she met her death.
7. David has five surnames as it is revealed: Simelane, Mhlanga, Yende, Gwebu and Thwala
8. Simelane, through his lawyer, tells the court that he will answer only five of the 34 counts he was facing
9. He tells the court that people approached him for employment and he in turn got them connected them to one Sipho Dlamini
10. His trial is one of the longest, it began in 2004 yet he was arrested in May 2001
11. One of the witnesses Superintendent Khethokwakhe Ndlangamandla took the whole year in the witness box
12. Much against expectation, Simelane addressed Judge Annandale in English one day.
“I have no comment,” he tells the court when told that one of the witnesses Nelsiwe Mamba saw him with one Sibongile Dlamini, his in-law.
13. He changed tone one day as the DPP Mumcy Dlamini, cornered him and said he had seen one of the victims Thandi Dlamini. Earlier he had stated that he never saw her (deceased) after he had handed her over to Sipho Dlamini
14. DPP, Mumcy Dlamini, complains of illtreatment.This was during the many objections made by Mabila during the trial.
15. David denies ever writing a letter which purportedly told Thandi Dlamini’s family that she was busy at work which was why she was not coming home.
16. He had more than one girlfriend, among them Vosho, Zanele, Gugu to name a few
17. He was a football person according to his own admission. In his testimony he said he met many people in football matches.
18. He does not know where Sipho Dlamini is and does not know why police did not look for him (Sipho) because he mentioned it to them that there was a third person (Sipho)
Photo : Serial killer David Thabo Simelane