Alex Japho Matlala
3 minute read
23 Jan 2020
5:35 am

Anger as man accused of doctor’s murder appears in court

Alex Japho Matlala

The Mankweng Magistrate’s Court in Limpopo was filled to its rafters when Ntiiso Xhilumane, 25, accused of murdering his girlfriend Dr Shongy Nkwashu, 24, appeared in court yesterday.

Image: ANA file image.

Protesters pleaded with the court to be harsh on the suspect after the murder of the doctor at a hospital’s staff quarters this week.

On Tuesday Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize promised the doctor’s parents during an official visit in Mayephu village outside Giyani that government would watch the proceedings of the case like a hawk.

“Your pain is our pain. We will work with the authorities to make sure the perpetrator gets a hasher sentence,” said the minister.

Mkhize said the man accused of Nkhwashu’s death has robbed the family, the community and the country at large of a role model, an intellectual and a mirror of the nation.

In response to the comforting words of the minister, Shongy’s father, Kenneth Nkwashu, said the family and the community were devastated by the death.

“We saw the signs, but we thought this guy would change. He warned us several times that he was going to kill her. Sometimes he would beat her in the middle of the night and send us pictures of her swollen face. As if that was not enough, he would also send us nude pictures of her, including her private parts. This boy is disrespectful and heartless. He deserves everything that is coming to him,” said the distraught father before bursting into tears.

The father added: “Several weeks before he killed her, he went to her residence in Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, where she studied, and assaulted her until she bled through her nose. He then sent us a message saying our daughter will never get married to another man as long as he was still alive. I tried talking to his parents, but they spat in my face,” he said.

The Citizen’s investigations revealed Xilumani was also a problem in his family. A relative, who spoke on condition of anonymity, alleged on Tuesday that his grandmother has asked for refuge in another village after he nearly killed her with a panga.

“The grandmother has a protection order against him,” said another relative, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation.

Yesterday Shongy’s father said he wanted authorities to explain how the suspect passed through security to her daughter’s room in Mankweng Hospital, and why security failed to hear her cries for help.

The attacks on health professionals in Limpopo hospitals are nothing new.

Last year several doctors were attacked by thugs in Letaba Hospital.

Three doctors and one of their spouses were later admitted in the intensive care unit of the hospital after sustaining serious body, head and facial injuries during the scuffle with the criminals.

On Sunday, the same day Shongy was killed, a woman and her son were attacked in the casualty ward of St Ritas Hospital in Sekhukhune.

Police said a man, suspected to be the woman’s husband, got past security personnel at the gates under the pretext that they were bringing in a terminally ill patient.

The man apparently shot at the woman and the boy, severely injuring them in the process.

The mother and the son are fighting for their lives at different hospitals.

In all instances, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union questioned the capacity of security at Limpopo hospitals and clinics to protect patients and staff.

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