South Africa

16 Days of Activism: 11 GBV cases that captured SA's attention this year

16 Days of Activism: 11 GBV cases that captured SA's attention this year

The scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide is on the rise. From the gruesome murders of students to the tragic death of a woman found stabbed and hanged on a tree, these cases sent shock waves around the country.

According to data published by the United Nations (UN), violence against women and girls intensified this year.

The UN said the global “shadow pandemic” was growing amid the Covid-19 crisis and worried that coronavirus cases have strained health services at the same time that domestic violence shelters and helplines reached capacity in many countries.

Speaking ahead of the launch of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children international awareness campaign, President Cyril Ramaphosa said there is a need for all sectors of society to play their part in the fight against GBV.

“It is about driving fundamental change in societal attitudes that allow sexism, chauvinism and patriarchy to thrive,” said Ramaphosa this week.

“As we gear up for this year’s campaign, we acknowledge the invaluable work being done by those outside government to combat GBV.”

The 16 Days of Activism take place from November 25 (international day of No Violence Against Women) to December 10 (international Human Rights Day).

And while there are numerous women and children that have died without making the news, here is a list of just some GBV cases that captured SA's attention this year.

Shongile Nkhwashu

The 24-year-old intern at Mankweng Hospital in Limpopo was found in her room at the doctor's residence in January.

Her death was confirmed by Limpopo health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba.

TimesLIVE reported that Ntiyiso Xilumani, 25, who is alleged to be Nkhwashu's boyfriend, was arrested and appeared in the Mankweng magistrate's court in connection with her murder.  

In September, a Limpopo high court judge sentenced Xilumani to life in prison for the murder of Nkhwashu.

Naledi Phangindawo

The 26-year-old mother of three was murdered while attending a cultural function in KwaNonqaba, Mossel Bay, in June.

She was hit and stabbed with an axe and knife by a suspect who handed himself over to the authorities soon after the incident.

Phangindawo died shortly after she arrived at hospital.

TimesLIVE reported that 34-year-old Mlondi Ntlangulela briefly appeared at the Mossel Bay magistrate's court but abandoned his bail application.

Tshegofatso Pule

The 28-year-old was found stabbed and hanged in a field in Roodepoort in June. Pule was eight months pregnant with a daughter when she died.

Muzikayise Malephane, accused of murdering Pule, appear in the South Gauteng high court last week. The 31-year-old is charged with premeditated murder.

TimesLIVE reported the case was postponed to December 9.

Lindelwa Peni

The 43-year-old single mother of two went missing after leaving her home accompanied by her ex-boyfriend in June.

A neighbour allegedly saw Peni leaving with her ex-boyfriend, who was driving a Toyota Quantum.

TimesLIVE reported that an East London taxi driver was arrested for her murder after she was found stabbed to death.

Altecia Kortje

The 27-year old Cape Town mother and her seven-year-old daughter Raynecia were murdered in June.

Ryan Smith, 28, was arrested and appeared in the Bellville magistrate’s court on charges of murder.

Smith abandoned his bail application in the Bellville magistrate's court.

Ansia Kheha 

The three-year-old's body was found stuffed in a bin by a person collecting plastic in a field in Orange Farm, Johannesburg, in June.

A search was launched by family members and the community when her mother realised Kheha was missing.  

Police spokesperson Capt Kay Makhubele said the child had a stab wound to her upper body.

Akhona Mncube

The 19-year-old KwaZulu-Natal mother died from internal injuries after a brutal assault in Sweetwaters, outside Pietermaritzburg, in July.

According to the provincial department of social development, Mncube disappeared for a few hours on Sunday. When she returned, she had allegedly been beaten by a man known to her.

Police arrested the 29-year-old suspect.

Asithandile “Kwasa” Zozo Lugalo

The Wits University biology student was murdered in Dutywa in the Eastern Cape in August.

Lugalo was assaulted and stabbed in full view of many people, including her younger sister.

She was allegedly stabbed to death by her boyfriend, Viwe Rulumeni, who was arrested and appeared at the Dutywa magistrate’s court later that month.

Rulumeni abandoned his application for bail.

Thandeka Mdeliswa

The 35-year-old actress was shot at her Mpumalanga family home in September in what her family described as “another incident of violence against women”. She died in hospital two days later.

Three suspects linked to the murder of Mdeliswa were arrested and appeared in the Evander magistrate's court.

However, the case was postponed to a later stage after the charges against two suspects were withdrawn because they could not be linked to the murder.

Kgaogelo Shai

The 20-year-old Letaba Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College student was found dead two weeks after she went missing in August.

TimesLIVE reported that she may have been unknowingly in a relationship with a convicted murderer.

Limpopo police revealed that Shai'sboyfriend, Ronny Kgatla, the main suspect for her murder, was on parole after murdering his former girlfriend.

Kgatla was suspected to have committed suicide by hanging. The 35-year-old's body was found on August 31.

Moesha Magotha

The 18-year-old from Port Elizabeth was stabbed and beaten by her boyfriend in September.

A 25-year-old suspect, Sean Nicolas Hendricks, was arrested and appeared in the Alexandria magistrate’s court.