The Ngwadla family breathed a heavy sigh of relief as Judge John Smith declared Ayanda Matika (52) guilty of murder “beyond any reasonable doubt” on Wednesday, 23 June 2021 at the East London High Court. Matika was found guilty for the cold blooded murder of his girlfriend Busisiwe Ngwadla (37) at their Emerald Sky flat, Amalinda in February 2019.
In what Judge Smith calls a “jealous rage”, Matika stabbed the young mother in the neck and 11 more times during an argument where he accused her of cheating on him. During his bail hearing in 2019, he pleaded not guilty and claimed that he was so enraged during the argument that he blacked out after the deceased tried to stab him.
In March 2021, he underwent mental evaluation at the Fort England psychiatric hospital in Makhanda and was declared mentally stable and fit for trial, which resumed in May, 2021.
“The honors was on the state to prove your criminal capacity. Your defense cannot be easily upheld, you were aware of the unlawful nature of your actions. Losing your temper is not an excuse for murder. Your life was not under threat, as you claim you disarmed the deceased of the knife when she tried to attack you. Moreover, your defence has been full of contradictions. I find you guilty,” Smith declared.
It is said Ngwadla had felt trapped in their five-year relationship and had been seeking financial independence. This led to the claims that she was cheating with a man she had claimed was assisting her in finding employment.
A visibly shaken Matika sat in the dock clad in blue jeans, a brown sweater and a black mask, tapping his feet rigorously with both elbows planted on his knees. His reality sank in as he listened to Judge Smith recall the horrific manner in which he murdered a woman straight after she took a shower.
“You killed her, listened to her scream and fight for five minutes. You opened the door for the concerned neighbours, blocked their view, and calmly told them that everything was fine. You then locked her inside the flat, while she was still alive. You had the sanity to board a plane and flee,” Smith re-counted.
Following the passing of the judgment, sentencing started on the same day with the first testimony made by Ngwadla’s mother, Nobubele Mbolekwa who had been composed the whole day. She was accompanied by her two remaining children, Thabo and Phumla. She asked Judge Smith to give Matika a harsh sentence in order for her family to heal.
“My mother recently died from ill health following the murder of her beloved granddaughter. I have suffered from one illness to another since this incident,” she testified.
Ncumisa Dyantyi, Matika’s Legal Aid Lawyer relayed a message that her client wished to apologise for all the pain and the loss of life to the Ngwadla family. Mbolekwa immediately rejected the apology, claiming that Matika had shown no remorse since 2019, citing that he was spotted shopping in Cape Town two days after he killed her daughter.
In an interesting revelation, Prosecutor Henker Ackerman revealed that Matika had been charged with murder in 1987. He served one year with seven years suspended as the case was deemed an accident. He was later arrested, twice, in 1992 for house breaking and in 1995 he escaped from custody and was sentenced to nine months.
A shocked Thabo Ngwandla exclaimed, “All this time we were dealing with a seasoned criminal and we did not even know about it. Our sisters must be careful of men in suits who appear to be genuine human beings. A background check must be necessary.”
Ackerman argued that Matika deserves a sentence above the minimum prescribed 15 years as he has committed the most horrific crime.
“You stabbed her 12 times while she was running around the house, as proven by evidence of blood stains all over the flat. You walked around her naked bloody body, changing clothes, washing your arms and hands of her blood. You did not have the decency to even cover her body and yet to claim you loved her. You showed no apathy nor sympathy.”
He added that the damning voicenote that Matika sent to his friend “Shoes” is a compelling piece of evidence that should play a major role in determining a harsh sentence.
“Gender based violence is a huge problem in South Africa. Statistics show that women do not feel safe in their own homes. In that voice note where you confess to killing your partner, you blame her for your actions. You basically say ‘she had it coming’. You are seeking for sympathy for yourself.
We need to send a message to society that we will not tolerate this type of abuse by men. We are too comfortable with the violence that men impose on women, we need to raise awareness,” argued Ackerman.
In a shocking plea, Matika’s lawyer, Dyantyi asked for the court to not allow for the “over emphasis on gender based violence prevalence” and for Matika to be treated as a first time offender because his crimes date back to 20 years.
“Your honour my client has been in custody for 2 years. He is a bread winner as he supports his elderly mother and sister. I recommend he be given 12 years,” she said, much to the chagrin of the gallery.
Sentencing resumes at the High Court (Thursday) at 10am.
Submitted By Khuthala Nandipha