Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
5 Nov 2013
5:40 am

Murder suspect seeks discharge

Ilse de Lange

A young Pretoria shop assistant who is accused of raping and murdering his pregnant, teenage girlfriend yesterday applied for his discharge.

Thato Kutumela earlier pleaded not guilty to charges of raping, murdering and robbing his girlfriend, Zanele Khumalo, 18, at her parents’ townhouse in Garsfontein in April 2011.

Khumalo was five months pregnant with Kutumela’s child at the time of her death.

According to medical evidence, she was strangled to death by someone who was using their hands. The teenanger was discovered naked under a blanket on her bed when her parents, Busi and Temba Khumalo, returned home from work.

Kutumela was only arrested in connection with her alleged murder about eight months after her death.

He initially claimed he had been at work all day and had never been anywhere near his girlfriend’s home.

But later he admitted that he had been at her house.

He said in a statement they had consensual sex twice early on the day of her death, but that she had no injuries when he left.

Kutumela’s legal representative, Anneke van Wyk, yesterday argued that the State had not proved either the rape or the

murder against her client beyond a reasonable doubt.

She argued that the State had not presented any proof to

counter Kutumela’s evidence that he and Khumalo had consensual sex.

She said the evidence and Kutumela’s cellphone records actually proved that he must already have been at work when Khumalo was killed.

Prosecutor George Baloyi said it was common cause that

Khumalo had been throttled and the only question was who had done it.

He said it was clear that Khumalo had changed his version about where he was on the day of the murder and only admitted he had been at her home because he had realised his cellphone records and DNA placed him at the scene.

He argued that Van Wyk’s

argument about the time of Khumalo’s death was based on an

incorrect interpretation of the evidence.

Legal argument will continue today.