Siyanda Gxwati says he “blacked out” and does not remember stabbing and slitting Refilwe Letebele’s throat.
THE MAN accused of killing his former girlfriend, told the court on Friday that seeing her packing up his belongings resulted in him experiencing a “black out” and not remembering stabbing and slitting her throat.
Siyanda Gxwati, 35, appeared in the Northern Cape High Court for the murder of Refilwe “Fifi” Letebele.
Letebele, 28, was killed at her parents’ home in Barkly Road in Kimberley on January 12, 2018. The incident occurred in the presence of the deceased’s 13-year-old cousin.
Gxwati is charged with the murder of the deceased and has pleaded not guilty.
He told the court during his trial that he had no recollection of the incident.
“When I saw my Playstation, picnic blanket and cooler box being packed up I lost my mind. I cannot remember what happened. My memory only came back when I heard a voice saying I must handover the knife I was holding. When I looked around, I saw that I was in the bathroom, sitting in the bathtub. I was not doing anything but just sitting in the bathtub,” Gxwati told the court.
He said even at the time of his arrest he was not certain about what happened.
“When I looked at my hands I saw that I was holding a knife. I gave the knife to one of the police officers. After I handed over the knife, I remained in the bathroom. The police told me to get up and turn around. They instructed me to place my hands behind my back. They said they were arresting me for murder. I did as I was told and they cuffed me. They then took me out of the house to the police van.
“While walking down the passage I heard Fifi’s mom’s voice. I thought that something happened at the house. When I was inside the police van, Fifi’s mother came to me and asked me what devilish act I committed inside her house,” he said.
Gxwati said he also did not realise that he had tried to kill himself.
At the time of the incident, Gxwati tried to turn the knife on himself and stabbed himself 16 times in the chest and also cut his own throat.
“When I was inside the bathroom I was bleeding from my neck. After a while I was taken from the police van to an ambulance. When they took off my t-shirt, I saw blood on my chest. The people who assisted me were talking in Afrikaans and I could not hear what they were saying. I did not see the wounds on my chest and do not know how I sustained the wounds,” he said.
His legal representative, Sakkie Nel told Gxwati that the13-year-old cousin of the deceased testified that he (the cousin) tried to stop the accused from stabbing the deceased.
“According to Sechaba, you came into the room of the deceased and she asked you what you were doing there. He said you had a knife with you. He stated that you (Gxwati) stabbed the deceased and kept on stabbing her even when she fell to the ground. Sechabe said he grabbed you around your waist to pull you away, but you kept on stabbing the deceased.
“The deceased crawled into the passage and you went behind her and slit her neck. He tried to pull the knife away but was unsuccessful. After that, you walked up and down the passage and stabbed yourself,” said Nel.
Gxwati indicated that he cannot dispute the testimony of the 13-year-old as he had no recollection thereof.
Before the conclusion of his testimony, Gxwati asked for forgiveness from the family of the deceased, his own family and the community of Kimberley.
“I am still hurting because of what happened. I know Fifi’s family is also hurting. I want to ask forgiveness for what happened to their child. It was not my intention to hurt them. They regarded me as one of them and I was grateful for that. To my family, thank you for your support. To the community of Kimberley, I am sorry,” Gxwati said.
The family of the deceased made angry remarks from the gallery as the accused apologised.
The State, represented by Advocate Adele van Heerden told Gxwati that his apology was rehearsed.
“You stood there calm, with your hands inside your pockets and that was the situation throughout. I saw you wiping your eyes, but I did not see any tears. You did not start off by saying sorry to the family members for their loss. The first thing you mentioned was that you are hurt. You might go to prison or a mental institution depending on the court’s decision. This has nothing to do with a family hurting or your remorse, but the situation you find yourself in,” said Van Heerden.
Van Heerden, during cross-examination told Gxwati that the fact he took two knives to the home of the deceased was not to kill himself in front of the deceased, as he testified, but to kill the deceased.
Gxwati disputed this, saying that he only took the second knife as he realised that the first knife was not sharp enough.
Two knives were found in the possession of the accused on the day of the incident and a brick which he apparently used to sharpen one of the knives found inside his car.
The matter was postponed.