The Western Cape High Court has found artist Zwelethu Mthethwa guilty of murder with intent in the form of “dolus eventualis” for the 2013 “vicious assault” of 23-year-old sex worker Nokuphila Kumalo.
Judge Patricia Goliath accepted crucial CCTV footage which captured the kicking and beating of Kumalo in the early hours of April 14 in Ravenscraig Road, Woodstock.
Describing it as a “silent witness”, she said CCTV footage had become crucial in the collection of evidence and the finding of truth in criminal cases.
She said the case had been based largely on circumstantial evidence that she had weighed up “holistically”.
Goliath found that the kicker and the driver of the Porsche 911 Carerra vehicle were indeed the same person.
Tracker evidence found that the Porsche, belonging to Mthethwa, was parked in Ravenscraig Road during the six-minute attack.
Goliath said the defence’s attack on the authenticity of the footage could not be accepted. “It is real evidence.”
She also rejected evidence from defence witness, psychiatrist Toviah Zabow, in which he told the court that Mthethwa could not recall the events of that night. She said the accused’s election not to testify, rendered Zabow’s evidence of no value.
Forensic pathologist Dr Linda Liebenberg testified during the trial that Kumalo died of blunt force trauma and had a severe laceration of the liver that led to fatal internal blood loss.
A petite woman, weighing only 46 kgs, Goliath said Kumalo would not have been able to defend herself.
Members of the Sex Workers Advocacy Task Force (Sweat) who had been protesting outside court earlier on Thursday, embraced each other when the verdict was delivered.
SWEAT’s Sally Shackleton said: “We are elated with the verdict and believe its fair. We have been monitoring the case and the outcome is very meaningful to us. We hope this will set a precedent for other cases. We eagerly await sentencing.”
Mthethwa’s bail was revoked.