A mother-daughter duo has been sentenced to double life imprisonment for the brutal murders of Simangele Simamane and her daughter Sbongakonke Mthembu in October 2020. The Durban High Court has delivered the verdict along with an additional eleven-year sentence for kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice.
The Horrifying Discovery
The victims, Simangele (36) and Sbongakonke (12), were found stuffed in a suitcase along Lwandle Drive in KwaDabeka, bearing multiple injuries and strangulation marks. The mother and daughter were reported missing on 5 October 2020. The key suspects, Slindile, Andile, Nomfundo Ngcobo, and Lwandle Ngcobo, disappeared after providing their statements to the police.
Through diligent police work, investigators traced the minibus used to transport the dead bodies from the original crime scene to where they were callously discarded. Sthembiso Lamula (42), Slindile’s boyfriend and the minibus owner, was arrested and later pleaded guilty to two counts of accessory to the fact. Lamula received a 12-year prison sentence for his involvement in the crime.
The four fugitives, including Slindile and Andile, were eventually apprehended and brought to justice. Nomfundo Ngcobo (23) pleaded guilty to one count of murder and was sentenced to a 20-year prison term. The trial for the youngest suspect, 15-year-old Lwandle Ngcobo, is ongoing and set to continue on Monday, 22 May 2023.
Praise for the Investigators
KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi praised the exceptional work of the Provincial Crime Investigation Service (CIS) in securing these convictions. Mkhwanazi highlighted the importance of cooperation between investigators and prosecutors, stating, “Sentences of this nature will restore public trust in the justice system, and we appreciate a great relationship between our investigators and the prosecutors. It is through cooperation and a common goal of restoring justice that we have managed to send the criminals to jail for the rest of their lives.”
Reminder of the Role of Police Investigations
This case serves as a reminder of the crucial role that police investigations play in solving crimes and bringing criminals to justice. The hard work and dedication of law enforcement officers, coupled with effective collaboration with prosecutors, have resulted in the conviction of the perpetrators and the restoration of public trust in the justice system.