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Zwelethu Mthethwa found guilty of murder

Artist Zwelethu Mthethwa has been on trial in connection with the murder of sex worker Nokuphila Kumalo.

Protesters outside the Western Cape Magistrates Court where artist Zwelethu Mthethwa was found guilty of the murder of sex worker Nokuphila Kumalo. Picture: Xolani Koyana/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Artist Zwelethu Mthethwa has been found guilty of murder in the Western Cape High Court.

Mthethwa was on trial in connection for the murder of sex worker Nokuphila Kumalo who was killed in Woodstock in 2013.

The verdict puts an end to a four-year case that has seen numerous delays.

Mthethwa was arrested after his vehicle was placed near the crime scene and police believed the suspect in the footage resembled him.

Mthethwa did not take the stand during the trial, but evidence before the court shows he told a psychiatrist he didn't remember the events of the evening Kumalo was killed.

Judge Patricia Goliath found the State was able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mthethwa committed the murder.

Goliath has recalled how grainy CCTV footage shows a male assailant stomping on Nokuphila Kumalo's head.

Goliath says although Mthethwa could not be identified as the perpetrator on the poor quality video, the prosecution was able to place him on the scene at the time of the crime.

Medical evidence before the court showed Kumalo had blunt force injuries to the head and that her liver was basically 'torn in half'.

Kumalo was kicked in the head several times and suffered blunt force injuries to the face and head.

Judge Goliath also questioned Mthethwa’s decision not to take the stand and described claims of memory loss as a 'fabrication'.

MTHETHWA TO SPEND FIRST NIGHT IN PRISON

Mthethwa will spend his first night in Pollsmoor Prison.

Mthethwa’s lawyer William Booth tried to get the court to release his client on bail but Judge Goliath struck down his application.

Booth had argued it would be difficult to get experts into Pollsmoor to prepare an argument in mitigation of the sentence, but the judge was stern saying Mthethwa has been convicted of a serious offence.

Outside the courthouse, the verdict brought joy to activists from Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) and Sonke Gender Justice.

SWEAT's Nosipho Vidima said: “Now we can say that at least one of these murderers have been found guilty, but it doesn’t mean we stop our work.”

Sentencing proceedings are expected to start in two weeks.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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