Chilling evidence heard in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court about the brutal murder of UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana – known as Nene – inside the Clareinch Post Office has shocked both students, university management and the postal services to their core.
The 42-year-old Post Office worker arrested on Friday faces charges of rape, murder and defeating the ends of justice. He appeared on Monday before Magistrate Goolam Bawa.
The court heard that the accused confessed to the murder and led police to where her body was dumped. Bawa ordered that the accused’s name and photograph not be published.
Court 4 was packed to capacity by students waiting in great anticipation of hearing news about Nene, who went missing on August 24.
Many were still hopeful and even told court-goers that she was not dead and had come to court to hear what had happened to her.
But seconds after prosecutor Nomnikelo Konisi told the court that Mrwetyana was raped and bludgeoned to death with a scale inside the post office, tears welled up in their eyes.
Konisi said: “The student went to the post office to inquie about a parcel but was told by the accused to come back later because the electricity was off at that time. She returned and he was alone at the post office.
“He locked the door, assaulted her and penetrated her vagina and she fought back. When he heard her screaming he took a scale inside the post office and hit her. He then dumped her body in Lingelethu West. Blood was found inside the post office and on his shoe when he was arrested.”
Martie Gilchrist, regional communications manager for the SA Post Office, reacting to the fact that the crime was committed inside a post office, said: “The SA Post Office is shocked and saddened by the horrible and inhumane act alleged against an employee. It is deplorable and we are embarrassed.
“We send our condolences to the affected family. We are collaborating with the police and wish for the might of the law to take its course.”
UCT said the fact that a young female student had died in such a horrific manner was devastating and shocked the university to its core.Management added that Nene was a member of the UCT community and that many people in her residence, Roscommon House, in her class and in her faculty had been profoundly affected by this event.
University spokesperson Nombuso Shabalala said: “The university executive remains deeply distressed by the unacceptable levels of violence against women and the marginalised in South African society on a daily basis.
“The UCT executive will be meeting urgently to discuss how we can commemorate Nene’s life and the many in our society who are affected by violence.”
Meanwhile, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, reacting to the brutal murder said: “On my own and the Anglican Church’s behalf, my deepest condolences to the family of Uyinene Mrwetyana, her friends and fellow students and staff at UCT.
“May her soul rest in peace.
“As the father of a daughter at the same institution, I feel this loss especially painfully.
“Society must rally against the dreadful prevalence of violence against women and children.
“The quick investigation and arrest in this case is to be commended.”
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) provincial spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said so far the accused had not indicated if he was going to apply for bail.
If he did the NPA would oppose it.
“One of the reasons the case was postponed is that statements still needs to be taken and an identity parade held.
“We are still waiting on the DNA results of the blood found in the post office and in his car,” Ntabazalila said.
The magistrate told the murder accused that the case was postponed to November 5.
At his next appearance he would not appear in court and the proceedings would be conducted via audio link.