The Madadeni Regional Court sentenced Thokoza Maxwell Ndlovu (38) to life imprisonment for the October 2021 murder of his ex-girlfriend, Phindile Misi Thwala, in the Nkomazini area near Estcourt. He was given the 11 years imprisonment for being in unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm (with an erased serial number) and ammunition, when he was arrested by the police.

Prior to the incident, the couple were in an intimate relationship, with Ndlovu having paid labola. They lived together and Thwala suffered physical and financial abuse from him. To this end, she applied for a protection order and verbally told Ndlovu that she was ending their relationship. He refused to accept this and continued to harass her.

Thwala then got into another relationship and was staying with her new boyfriend. On the night of the incident, her boyfriend was working nightshift when Ndlovu barged into the house and forcefully took her away into a field where he killed her using an unknown blunt object. Thwala suffered head injuries, and she had bruises on her thighs and knees, indicating that she was dragged on the ground before being killed. After killing her, Ndlovu phoned her family and told them about her death. He also phoned her boyfriend and told him that he would kill him too.

He was arrested 10 days later while hiding at his girlfriend’s house, after police acted on a tip-off. He was found in possession of the firearm and ammunition.

In court, Regional Court Prosecutor Eddie Mbewu led the testimonies of Thwala’s family members. Since they were traumatised by the incident, and found it difficult to face Ndlovu in an open court, the state enlisted the assistance of an intermediary who assisted by explaining the court process and keeping them calm. Thwala’s sister said that their family loved and trusted Ndlovu as he cared for Thwala’s four children as his own.

Ndlovu was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, eight years imprisonment for unlawful possession of the prohibited firearm and three years imprisonment for the unlawful possession of ammunition. He will effectively serve a term of life imprisonment.

The National Prosecuting Authority welcomes the successful finalisation of this matter as curbing the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide remains a priority of the organisation. We commend the work done by the prosecution and SAPS.

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