The family of a young professional woman who disappeared without a trace three years ago hopes her former boyfriend, who was sentenced to life imprisonment, will have a change of heart in prison and tell them where her body is.
Vosloorus businessman Zwelibanzi Zungu, 33, was on Friday sentenced in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to life imprisonment for the March 2012 murder of his former girlfriend, Nandi Mbizane. Mbizane, a young professional with a B.Com degree who worked for a business consultant in Johannesburg, was last seen at her townhouse in the company of Zungu.
Even though her body was never found and Zungu denied any knowledge of her murder, the court found the only reasonable inference was that Zungu had murdered her. Mbizane’s family, many of them dressed in pink – her favourite colour – cheered and clapped hands when Zungu was sentenced to life imprisonment.
The jeered and laughed at him as he was being led down to the court cells, but her elderly mother, Sibongile Mbizane, cried inconsolably. Mbizane’s sister, Nondwakazi Gumede, said the family was happy that justice had been done.
“But we’ve just crossed the first hurdle. “We hope when he’s in jail he sits and reflects on what he did and finds it in himself to tell us what he’s done and where her body is, because we cannot really get any closure,” she said.
Gumede praised the prosecuting team, the investigator and especially the Hawks for doing a sterling job. “They worked tirelessly on this case. There are still some good cops out there. If it was not for them, we wouldn’t be here.”
Sentencing Zungu, Judge Selby Baqwa said although Mbizane’s body was never recovered, it was apparent from the evidence that the way in which her life had been ended was vicious.
He said the crimes appeared to have been planned in a methodical, cold-blooded and deliberate manner and the manner in which the victim’s body was concealed so that it could not be found indicated “the meticulous planning of a serious criminal mind”.
Mbizane’s boyfriend Oliver Matlala, who was with her that night, testified that Zungu had entered her townhouse, hit him over the head and then chased him away. He had also seen Zungu slapping Mbizane. He never saw his girlfriend again.