The Star reported on Monday that Johannes Kana was formally charged with the rape and murder of Anene Booysen.
Kana appeared in the Swellendam Circuit Court in the Western Cape for the start of his trial.
The 21-year-old allegedly raped and disembowelled 17-year-old Booysen between the night of Friday, February 1 and the morning of February 2 this year, on a construction site in Bredasdorp.
She died in Tygerberg Hospital on the afternoon of February 2.
The state rejected Kana's plea in which he admitted leaving a Bredasdorp pub with Booysen, hitting and raping her, but denied killing her.
According to the newspaper, the state called the first of its 52 witnesses, Eben Merts, who is a security guard.
Merts reportedly told the court he was doing his rounds at the construction site when he heard a scream and found someone lying between two houses.
The trial continues.
In February, hundreds of mourners attended Booysen's funeral.
The murder triggered much soul-searching in a country that often appears numb to sexual violence and is known as the world's rape capital.
Politicians and journalists flocked to the sleepy Western Cape town for the funeral, while a tent was set up for mourners who couldn't fit inside the church.
Around 65 000 sexual offences were committed in South Africa last year alone, according to official figures. – Sapa, AFP