The Ladysmith Regional Court sentenced Nokubonga Fortunate Dubazane (36) and Mqapheli Emerald Miya (46), to life imprisonment each for the murder of Hlengiwe Christina Ndaba (35), in Bergville, in July 2020. Dubazane and Ndaba were school teachers at a primary school in Loskop, Estcourt; and while Ndaba was permanently employed, Dubazane worked on a contract that was due to expire at the time. Dubazane was to temporarily replace Ndaba, (who was heavily pregnant) when she went on maternity leave. The principal of the school testified in court that he considered permanently employing Dubazane, should there be a vacancy at the school.

Before Ndaba’s maternity leave, Dubazane hired hitmen to kill her, she paid them R10 000 upfront and promised a further R10 000, once Ndaba was killed. On the day of the murder, using Ndaba’s car, the two women drove to Bergville. Dubazane had already given Ndaba food laced with rat poison; so, she was weak and in pain when they reached. They then took her to a rondavel where she was strangled with her T-shirt. Before leaving the scene, Dubazane gave the men money to buy paraffin to burn the body and the vehicle.

The men drove to a nearby forest where they set fire to the car, with Ndaba’s body in it. A security guard discovered the vehicle and contacted the police. Police traced the VIN of the vehicle and discovered that the burned remains found in the vehicle belonged to Ndaba and her unborn child. When the police went to her home, they found her two children, aged six and nine years old, alone, and unattended because she had not come back home.

In court, Regional Court Prosecutor Sikhona Sibaya led cellphone evidence which showed that at the time of the murder, all the accused were in the same place as Ndaba. Sibaya also led the evidence of an eyewitness. Dubazane and Miya were sentenced accordingly, and their co-accused pleaded guilty before the trial.

The National Prosecuting Authority welcomes the successful finalisation of this matter, and we acknowledge the hard work done by the Prosecution and the Investigating team.

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