/ 28 November 2023

State opposes bail for student who allegedly killed Kirsten Kluyts

Kirsten Kluyts
Johannesburg teacher Kirsten Kluyts was attacked while participating in a MyRun event in Sandton on October 29. Image: Kirsten Kluyts via Facebook

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has said it will oppose the bail of the 21-year-old student who is a suspect in the murder of Johannesburg teacher Kirsten Kluyts. 

Kluyts was raped and killed while jogging in Parkmore, in late October.

The accused, Bafana Makhungela, appeared in the Alexandra magistrate’s court on Tuesday morning on charges of murder after he was apprehended by the police on Sunday afternoon at a students’ residence.

Kluyts, 34, was attacked in George Lea Park in Sandton while participating in a MyRun event. Her naked body was discovered in an alley when race participants went to look for her after she did not cross the finish line.

According to police reports, she was raped and strangled to death. 

Makhungela is only facing a murder charge at this stage, pending further investigation. 

“There are still outstanding DNA results that the state needs to [finalise], therefore for now the only charge that he is facing is that of murder,” said NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane.

The police were able to expedite investigations with the help of the CCTV cameras at the Sandton sports complex, which showed Makhungela wearing Kluyt’s blue T-shirt after his alleged escape from the murder scene. 

He was arrested on Sunday after the police traced him to his student accommodation about 1.4km from where the teacher’s body was found, police spokesperson Brenda Muridili said.

The case has been postponed until 5 November for Makhungela to seek legal representation after he told the court that he would appoint his own attorney.

Makhungela’s appearance comes as the country observes 16 days of activism to combat gender-based violence.

“[The NPA] has adopted an approach of prosecution of those that commit violent crimes against women and children and we continue to place an important role as the prosecution in cases of gender-based violence, we continue to be the voice for the vulnerable,” Mjonondwane said.

The accused, who appeared shocked when the charges against him were read in court, could face up to 25 years in prison if he is found guilty.