Murder accused in Karabo Mokoena case appears in court

On Monday, Sandile Mantsoe pleaded not guilty to the murder of his former girlfriend Karabo Mokoena, claiming she had taken her own life. (Gallo/VeliNhlapo)

On Monday, Sandile Mantsoe pleaded not guilty to the murder of his former girlfriend Karabo Mokoena, claiming she had taken her own life. (Gallo/VeliNhlapo)

On Tuesday, Sandile Mantsoe appeared before the High Court for the second day of his trial for the murder of his former girlfriend Karabo Mokoena.

On Monday, Mantsoe pleaded not guilty to the murder of 22-year-old Mokoena, claiming she had taken her own life. Several individuals, including Mokoena’s sister, Bontle testified, corroborating Mantsoe’s guilt.

Bontle recalled a visit to Mantsoe’s building after her sister’s disappearance. Times Live reported Bontle testified that Karabo’s friend, Stephanie Leong, “suggested we go to Sandton Sky [Mantsoe’s apartment building] and ask Sandile where she is”.

Although they did not at first believe that Mantsoe committed the murder, their certainty was quickly rebuked after the manager at Sandton Sky showed Leong and Bontle security footage of Mokoena at the building and giving them Karabo’s identification card that was left there.

According to Times Live, Bontle described Mantsoe and Karabo’s relationship as tumultuous at times, claiming Karabo had spent her last birthday in Morningside Hospital with a bruised eye, shoulder and legs after Mantsoe beat her. Bontle also testified that Mantsoe had “smashed her phone”.

Even though Bontle provided evidence in the case she said, “The relationship was fine. I’m not sure when it started to change.”

When Leong took the stand, she claimed that there were no signs that Mokoena was suicidal.

Mantsoe was arrested last April when Mokoena’s body was found in a ditch, burned “beyond recognition” in Lyndhurst Johannesburg. After Mantsoe was arrested, the #MenAreTrash tag on Twitter brought the case national attention, raising awareness about gender based violence.

Arielle Schwartz

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