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Johannesburg – The judge in Palesa Madiba’s case has severely warned murder suspect Dumisani Mkhwanazi that if his lawyer fails to show up, the case can no longer be postponed.
Mkhwanazi appeared shortly before the South Gauteng Supreme Court on Monday when his trial was expected to begin. His attorney Dominic Thinani, however, was a no-show.
Madiba, 21, a final year Bachelor of Commerce student at the University of Johannesburg, died on August 12, 2013 after visiting her school friend Matshidiso Mkhwanazi in Phiri, Soweto.
Matshidiso is Mkhwanazi’s niece and is expected to testify against her uncle at the beginning of the trial.
According to the state, the defendant, who lived in one of the back rooms of his family home, allegedly entered the main house and attempted to confiscate Palesa’s cell phone.
He is said to have attacked and strangled her and then buried her in a shallow grave behind the back rooms.
Her remains were discovered two years later by a neighbor who saw a human hand sticking out of the ground and alerted the police, who made the gruesome discovery.
Mkhwanazi was arrested last year and charged with her murder and defeat of justice.
The 36-year-old’s earlier appearance last week was postponed because Thinani told the court that he intended to withdraw from the case because he was not instructed and had not been paid.
Judge Prince Manyathi said, “I have postponed this matter several times and it dates back to 2013.
“The deceased’s family has a right to an expeditious trial, and so do you. We need to close this matter. We cannot play games between the defendant and the lawyer. “
To this day, Judge Manyathi had the matter step back and advised the defendant to consider legal assistance, which he declined.
“If Mr Thinani is not here on Wednesday, I will set a date for the trial and you run the risk of handling this matter yourself,” said the judge.
National Law Enforcement Agency spokesman Phindi Mjonondwane said they were glad the judge set foot and that the Madibas would find a deal.