Khayelitsha murder case postponed for fifth time since May

Family and friends of Phelokazi Mqathanya angered by delays in bringing accused to trial

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Phumeza Ndlwana, the sister of Phelokazi Mqathanya, joined the Free Gender march earlier this year to raise awareness about delays in her sister’s case. Archive photo: Mary-Anne Gontsana

There is growing frustration and anger among the relatives of Phelokazi Mqathanya. The trial against her alleged murderer was postponed for a fifth time since 5 May at the Khayelitsha Magistrates Court.

Murder accused, Bongani Ngadleka, made a brief appearance in court on Wednesday morning. The case was postponed for Ngadleka to consult with his newly appointed Legal Aid lawyer. Previously, Ngadleka had said he would be representing himself but this changed on 20 June.

He is accused of stabbing Mqathanya to death on 2 May in 2021. Mqathanya, who lived in Site C, was lesbian and her family and LGBT+ activists believe her murder was a hate crime.

The accused was arrested soon after the murder last year but due to several delays and four court postponements, the case was removed from the court’s roll on 14 December.

The case was brought back to court on 5 May this year following action by lesbian rights organisation, Free Gender, which has been at the forefront of advocating for Mqathanya’s case to be taken more seriously by the justice system.

Outside court, Mqathanya’s brother Lelethu Ngalo said, “It’s like this case is being delayed on purpose. Why isn’t the state objecting to these postponements? This is exactly what happened last year. This man just wants the case to be thrown out of court.”

Ngalo, who has attended every one of the accused’s court appearances, said that all they wanted was justice for his sister.

Mqathanya’s friend, Happiness Gutshwa, said the postponements were costly because they rely on public transport to get to court, which is becoming expensive.

The case has now been postponed to 20 July.

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TOPICS:  Crime

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