A former friend of Dumisani Mkhwanazi testified before the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday, that the accused allegedly told him that he had “crushed” Palesa Madiba.
“I did see the accused at a party, we left the party and went to Kliptown, we got there, we slept inside the car. I woke up, he was also awake, then I asked him,” Richard Mahlangu told the court.
“I asked him what happened to Palesa. He got upset. I asked again for the second time and then he said he crushed her,” he added.
When probed by Judge Prince Manyathi on what this meant, the witness told the court that he understood the accused to mean that “he had crushed Palesa”.
Mkhwanazi is accused of killing Madiba, a University of Johannesburg (UJ) student, in 2013.
He faces charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, defeating the administration of justice, the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
He previously pleaded not guilty to the charges.
According to the witness, the alleged admission happened just a few weeks after he saw on the news that Madiba was missing and subsequently questioned his friend.
The witness said he knew Madiba as she was a regular visitor at the residence in Phiri, Soweto.
It was previously reported that Madiba went missing following a sleepover at her friend – Tshidi Mkhwanazi’s – home in Phiri, Soweto on 9 August 2013.
Tshidi lived with her grandmother in the main home while her uncle, the accused, occupied one of the backrooms, but the court previously heard that he had access to the house to bathe and eat.
Mahlangu told the court the accused would comment on Madiba – in his presence – when she would visit the residence.
“He used to say she was beautiful, she is pleasing to the eyes,” the witness explained to the court.
Mahlangu further told the court that since the alleged admission, the accused – who was his friend of nearly 20 years – and him were no longer close.
While the alleged admission took place a few weeks after he saw on the news that Madiba was missing, Mahlangu only made a statement to the police on 18 December 2015.
Madiba’s body was found in a shallow grave behind Tshidi’s home on 16 December 2015 after a neighbour noticed an arm protruding from the ground.
When probed as to why it took more than two years to reveal what he had allegedly been told, Mahlangu responded: “I did not think I had such a right to report to the police. I did not go to the police, they came to my home.”
Mkhwanazi denies the alleged admission.
The trial continues.