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Aunt testifies Mihle’s Zingamo’s murder traumatised her family

Dhladhla testified she could not cope at school. It was during her exams and because she could not concentrate, it forced her to write her exams the following year.

Nelisiwe Dhladhla, an aunt to Mihle Zingamo (14), was severely traumatised by the teenager’s murder. She told the Secunda Regional Court that even her schoolwork suffered after Mihle’s death.

Dhladhla was in tears on the witness stand on June 29 in the trial against Themba Shongwe, an alleged serial killer and rapist.

She asked Mihle to accompany her to a local salon earlier in the day on November 7, 2018. That was the last time Dhladhla saw Mihle alive.

“When we arrived at the salon near the taxi rank in Ext 17 in eMbalenhle, we found a queue and had to wait to get my hair done.

“While still waiting, Mihle said she wanted to go home to eat because she was hungry, but I told her to wait until they attended to me.

“She waited until salon employees worked on my hair, and I told her then she could go home,” said Dhladhla.

“After my hair was done, I went home to ask my mother where Mihle was because she had left the salon to go home to eat.

“My mother told me that Mihle never came home. I went to my room to check if she had fallen asleep there, but she was not. I called her father at work to tell him that Mihle was not at home.”

Dhladhla said her family became worried about Mihle disappearing and started searching for her. Her father went to the police station to report her missing.

Mihle Zingamo (14) is believed to be the last victim of the alleged serial killer Themba Shongwe. The community set his house alight shortly before he was arrested.

The community helped in the search. It became dark and municipal load reduction made things worse.

The police used a bakkie and floodlight to shine into every nook and cranny while calling on a loud hailer.

They found Mihle’s body dumped in the street that night. Her hands and feet were tied with plastic.

Dhladhla testified she could not cope at school. It was during her exams and because she could not concentrate; it forced her to write her exams the following year.

ALSO CHECK: Trial of eMbalenhle’s alleged serial killer begins in Secunda Regional Court

She also told the court that Mihle’s mother took Mihle’s younger brother from them to live with her in Mandela Section, in fear of also losing him.

Dhladhla said the loss of both children affected their families.

When the prosecutor, Advocate Tracy Keen-Horak, asked Bongani Nkutha, father of Nokulunga Nkutha (11), killed in 2016, if he knew Shongwe, the father said they played for the same soccer team but in different divisions.

He testified Shongwe knew Nokulunga because he (Bongani) used to pass near Shongwe’s home with his daughter and her siblings.

The late Nokulunga’s father, Bongani Nkutha said he and Themba Shongwe played soccer for the same team.

Nkutha testified Shongwe used to play with the children.

Nokulunga’s mother, Gugu Mthembu, testified her child’s disappearance and the discovery of her body devastated her.

Mthembu described Nokulunga as a child who was always at home and when she went to play, she would be around the neighbourhood or at her father’s house.

Mthembu said on the day of Nokulunga’s disappearance, she called Bongani to find out if their daughter was with him, but he had not seen her that day.

ALSO CHECK: #JusticeForMihle: 14-year-old girl raped, murdered and dumped in the street in eMbalenhle

The mother reported to the police that the child was missing. Mthembu returned home.  She was ill with worry because of Nokulunga’s disappearance while Bongani and other community members searched for the girl.

Mthembu testified that she and her father, Elliot Mthembu, awakened by a noise from people outside informing them of a child’s body dumped in the street.

She said they followed the crowd to the scene, and that was when she saw her dead. Nokulunga was lying on her back with her hand on her face.

The boyfriend of Cynthia Masilela (16) testified that their son was always asking about his mother.

“I tell him God took his mother,” he explained.

The trial will continue on August 16.

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