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Man found guilty after killing wife and burying her under bathtub


The man was found out two years after the murder after the couple’s children noticed that the bathtub had been repositioned.

File picture: Pixabay

AN EASTERN Cape man was convicted of killing his wife and burying her body under the bathtub of their home.

Yibanathi MacGyver Ndema, 45, was found guilty of five charges relating to the murder of his wife Noluvuyo Nonkwelo in 2019.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said the court heard that the couple’s marriage had been marred by domestic violence.

Provincial NPA spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said Ndema murdered his wife on July 1, 2019 and two days later reported her as a missing person to the police, “even though he knew that was not true”.

Ndema was arrested in August 2021 after Nonkwelo’s remains were found buried underneath a bathtub in the bathroom of the house the couple shared.

“The couple’s children alerted their grandparents that since their mother’s disappearance the bathtub had been repositioned,” said Tyali.

“That prompted the police to search Ndema’s home, leading to the discovery of the remains.”

Tyali said DNA tests confirmed that the remains were indeed those of Nonkwelo and they were released to her family for proper burial.

“Post-mortem results revealed that the deceased died because of a fractured neck.”

The NPA said the court heard that the couple’s marriage had been marred by domestic abuse and the victim had even sought a protection order.

Tyali said that, in addition to murder, the court found Ndema guilty of three counts of assaulting his wife between September 2018 and June 2019.

“The assaults were by a stick, clenched fists, open hands, burning her with hot water and pulling her by her hair.

“While still alive, the deceased once opened a case of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm against him and was granted a protection order in January 2019.

“But both the case and the protection order were later withdrawn.”

Ndema initially abandoned bail, but at a later stage applied for bail, which was denied.

During the trial he pleaded not guilty.

“He also distanced himself from a confession he made to the police admitting that he had strangled his wife to death because she was having an extramarital affair, necessitating a trial-within-a-trial. The court ultimately admitted the confession, together with the disputed pointing-outs.”

Judge Buyiswa Majiki found that the State proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt and noted that the prosecution had invoked the provisions of premeditated murder, which attracts the minimum sentence of life imprisonment.

Sentencing procedures are expected to begin in October.

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