The High Court of South Africa Gauteng Local Division, Johannesburg sentenced Nomaswazi Rachel Tshabalala (31), to life imprisonment for killing her grandmother, and an additional 25 years for 24 counts of fraud, theft of the deceased bank and SASSA cards, obstructing and defeating the administration of justice as well as statutory perjury. The accused pleaded guilty.

The accused resided with her grandmother, Nomsa Hilda Tshabalala, in Mndeni (Soweto), and admitted that she was under the influence of drugs when she killed the elderly woman after an altercation with her, where she was kicking her out of her home on 14 December 2019. In her plea explanation, she stated that she reported Nomsa missing on 19 December 2019, at the Naledi police station. She further stated that she thereafter started withdrawing funds from Nomsa’s Nedbank and SASSA cards, from 17 December 2019, until 03 September 2020.

She was arrested on 03 September 2020, for using the deceased elderly woman’s card, whilst she reported her missing. She was kept in custody and charged with fraud and theft, until a tenant discovered the remains of the deceased in June 2021. Nomsa ‘s relatives had decided to rent out the house, following the arrest and detention of the accused. The new tenant was busy cleaning the yard when he discovered Nomsa’s remains buried underneath a steel cabinet in the backyard. DNA profiling was conducted and matched that of Nomsa. Further investigations led the investigating officer, Sergeant Quma, to Johannesburg Prison where Nomaswazi was an awaiting trial detainee.

In aggravation of sentence, Senior State Adv Tshimangadzo Xakaza argued that the murder was premeditated and that as per Older Persons Act, the court should find that murdering the elderly was an aggravating factor that warrants the imposition of life imprisonment. She added that Nomaswazi dosed the elderly woman with petrol to conceal the crime. “The accused had an opportunity to reconsider her decision after hitting her with the calabash on her head, leaving her unconscious but alive, but proceeded to strangle her with her bare hands”, she said.

The NPA will continue to advocate against the senseless killing of the elderly and ensure that such perpetrators face the full might of the law.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *