THE Western Cape High Court sentenced 34-year-old child killer Bongani Dlamini to life behind bars, on Monday October 17.
Judge Ashley Binns-Ward said the murder of Anovuyo Ndamase, 5, on March 1 last year (“A family’s heartbreak” March 12, 2015) had resulted “not only in the tragic loss of a promising young life, but also in the devastation of the lives of her parents”.
He said the parents had clearly not been able to come to terms with the loss of their daughter. “In a very real sense they are experiencing a living death, and are just as much victims of his crime as was Anovuyo.”
Judge Binns-Ward last month convicted Mr Dlamini of murder, but acquitted him on charges of rape and kidnapping.
He described him as a “poor and unconvincing witness”, but could not convict him on the kidnapping charge as the difficulty was “one has no idea whatsoever how the child came to be in the accused’s house”.
On the rape charge, he said there was “no direct evidence the accused sexually penetrated the deceased”, but the fact the accused’s semen was found on his duvet inner and on a pillow cover also stained with the child’s blood “certainly gives cause for suspicion”.
When Anovuyo went missing in Enkanini, Khayelitsha, her mother, Kholeka Ndamase, only realised she was no longer playing just outside her home when she emerged from her house after an hour-long meeting. The girl’s shoes were lying outside, but there was no sign of Anovuyo.
The community immediately started searching for the child and the case was reported to police, who began searching later that evening.
The search continued until March 5 when the child’s naked body was discovered stuffed in a bag, with her clothes, behind the house of a man who lived three houses away from the accused.
The court found the child had been assaulted by a hammer with a blow to the head, shattering her skull.
Judge Binns-Ward described Mr Dlamini’s behaviour after the crime as
“calculated and cynical”. He “even participated in a search for her after her mother had raised the alarm about the young girl’s
“The manner in which the body was elaborately concealed within a series of interleaved plastic and canvas bags and stored for days before being put out on the day the local authority collected domestic refuse from the area afforded further indication of the accused’s callousness about what he had done and of his utter disrespect for his victim’s humanity.”
Mr Dlamini had continued going to work and visiting his girlfriend as if nothing had happened.
In sentencing Mr Dlamini, Judge Binns-Ward also pointed to his lack of remorse, his denial about what had happened, and his refusal to disclose the details, “adding to the parent’s torture”.
He said murder was the most serious offence, but when a child was the victim, it added a “special heinousness” reflected in the severity of sentences imposed by the courts in such cases. Mr Dlamini had, however, not shown “a shred of remorse”.
The girl “had a delightful nature and brought much joy into the lives of her parents. The photographs of her that her mother tendered in evidence show a pretty and happy looking child”, he said.
Judge Binns-Ward cited several other cases, including one of a 27-year-old man who was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering a three-year-old boy.
In that case, the victim had also been playing outside his home.
In that judgment, the judge said children were entitled to play in the streets, “especially just in front of their parental home”. They are entitled to enjoy their youth “without the fear, the apprehension and the insecurity which constantly diminishes the quality of their lives”.
Mr Dlamini’s application for leave to appeal his conviction and sentence was denied. – ANA