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By Nicholas Zaal

Digital Journalist


Centurion woman who buried bodies of her son and two lovers on top of each other sentenced

The three bodies were piled in a shallow grave outside the place they lived. Two were killed by being struck with a hammer repeatedly.


The High Court in Pretoria on Monday sentenced Pamela Ncumisa Selani from Olievenhoutbosch to three life terms for three counts of murder for killing her two lovers as well as her son.

The 47-year-old was found guilty of murdering Micheal Changisa and Gift, from Malawi, and her 17-year-old son.

She was given an additional five years imprisonment for defeating the administration of justice.

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National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson, Lumka Mahanjana said that in 2016, Selani and her then-partner Micheal Changisa argued after she discovered that he had infected her with a chronic disease.

Victim struck repeatedly with a hammer

“Weeks later after the argument, Selani asked her second boyfriend Gift who lived in the same area to help her kill her partner Changisa,” Mahanjana explained.

“One night, Gift went to the house Selani shared with Changisa and hid in the bathroom. After Changisa fell asleep, Gift snuck out of the bathroom and repeatedly hit Changisa with a hammer on his head in the presence of Selani’s two minor children and left him in the bedroom where he died.

“After the incident, Selani and Gift buried the deceased in her yard. After the two killed Changisa they started staying together in the house Selani [had previously] shared with the deceased.”

In 2017 Selani conspired with her one son, 17, to kill Gift because he was abusing her.

The two then poisoned Gift and dunked his head in water until he drowned. Afterwards, they buried his body in a shallow grave on top of the first deceased in her yard.

“[The 17-year-old son], who was also addicted to drugs, started demanding money from his mother and threatened to report her to the police,” Mahanjana added.

“One night, [the 17-year-old son] chased his mother and his younger sibling out of the house, they then went to stay at her third boyfriend’s house in the same area.

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“The following night they all returned to the house and hid in the yard. While doing so, [the 17-year-old son] arrived home and went straight to bed. While sleeping, Selani asked her minor son to sneak into the house and open the door.

“Thereafter, Selani grabbed a hammer and repeatedly hit [the 17-year-old boy] on the head until he died, and she buried him on top of two deceased persons in her yard.”

On 4 August 2020, Selani took her 14-year-old son to a traditional healer because he was not well. During the consultation with the healer, the boy told the healer about the killings.

The healer then called a community leader under the pretence that he was calling another healer for assistance. When the community leader arrived, the son narrated the story to the community leader who reported the matter to the police.

When Selani and her son returned home that day they were arrested. The charges against the son were later withdrawn and he became a state witness.

In court, Selani pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against and denied committing the offences. However, the state was able to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

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During the sentencing proceedings, through her legal representative, Selani asked the court not to impose the prescribed minimum sentence because she is a first-time offender and Chagisa infected her with a life-threatening disease where she found herself with health complications for the rest of her life.

Furthermore, she experienced abuse from her partner. which she said pushed her into a corner and resulted in her acting in the manner that she did.

However, state prosecutor, and advocate Eric Sihlangu, argued that Selani showed no remorse for her actions as she still maintained her innocence even after being convicted.

He added that Selani is convicted of serious offences that are prevalent in the country. Therefore, Sihlangu asked the court not to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence and should consider the outcry of society regarding gender-based violence (GBV).

Furthermore, Sihlangu asked the court to impose a sentence that would send a message to the community and deter other citizens from committing similar offences.

Judge said killer showed no remorse

When handing down the sentence, Judge Papi Masopa agreed with the state that Selani showed no remorse.

Furthermore, judge Masopa said he is of the view that Selani is an evil person who killed her two lovers and child.

“It is by mercy that the 14-year-old was not killed,” he said, finding no substantial and compelling circumstances to deviate from imposing the prescribed minimum sentences.

He further said he hopes the sentence imposed will make Selani a better person who will respect people’s lives.

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