After months of trauma and frustration, the Ninini family of Site C can breathe a collective sigh of relief after four men found guilty of murdering their daughter were each sentenced to life in prison. Masimthembe Solantsi, Phumlani Nyewu, Melikhaya Mgushelo and Thabiso Balithoba, were sentenced at the Western Cape High Court on Monday February 13. In December last year the four were convicted of Bongiwe Ninini’s murder.
In July 2015, the men brutally killed Bongiwe and dumped her body in an unused drain in Kwezi Park. They were arrested 10 days after the incident with the help of the community. Responding to the sentencing, Bongiwe’s mother Nomlozi Ninini welcomed the news and praised the community for their support as well as police for the swift arrest of those responsible. She said she could smile and walk freely on the streets without any fear of seeing her daughter’s killers.
“The family is relieved at the news. I had to call everyone including those who are in the Eastern Cape to let them know. It has been a huge struggle to accept what happened. You know cases can go a different way. That was a huge worry for us. But now I am happy because the perpetrators are behind bars. At least we have closure. Now life can continue,” she said.
Ms Ninini praised the work done by investigating officers and the support from the entire country. “The Site C community has been fantastic. In fact, the whole country has been. During the case, people were always on our side. Non-governmental organisations have also been superb to us. This victory is not only ours, but that of the country. We are thankful to everyone,” she said.
During a visit to the family on Tuesday, Khayelitsha Cluster Commander Major General Johan Brand, who was accompanied by a police delegation and some religious leaders, commended the community for not taking law into their hands. “We got closure to this case. We are all happy. Remember we always ask people not to take the law into their hands. Imagine if they did that it could have been a different case. We maintain that let the police do their work. We are happy the community stood by police,” he said.