Calls for the return of the death penalty are rising as cases of gender-based violence (GBV) persist. Residents of Xhorha in the Eastern Cape and African Transformation Change (ATM) believe this could be the only solution to the scourge of killing of women and children across the country.

The call was made outside a local magistrate’s court where a 32-year-old suspect, Nowa Makula, who allegedly hacked his partner, Nomzamo Sikhundwana, and her five children to death at Sidabakweni village last week, appeared.

The deceased woman’s sister, Baliswa Sikhundwana, fainted inside court shortly after court resumed. Some other members of the Sikhundwana family left the court in tears.

The court then proceeded without them present.

Nomzamo Sikhundwana’s sister Baliswa Mkhundwana who wept throughout the protest outside the court and later fainted inside the court, says her family is devastated.

“She was my sister. She was a very good person. She was quiet and loving. My sister was kind-hearted. She would not fight with anyone. Even when she was sad, she would not express herself. I’m saddened by her passing,” says Baliswa.

The African National Congress (ANC) Women’s League, ATM, Women and children’s rights group Khula Development joined in as residents picketed outside the Xhorha Magistrate’s Court. They want the suspect to rot in jail.

ATM president, Vuyo Zungula, says the death penalty is the only solution.

‘What we are saying is that there must be a death penalty for such heinous crimes because as it stands now this monster will go to jail and when they are in jail they will be fed and taken care of by the victims’ families.”


President @ZungulaVuyo and ATM delegates attend the court hearings of a Zimbabwean national who allegedly murdered a woman and her 5 children with an axe.

This is a developing story. #PutSouthAficansFirst

— African Transformation Movement (@ATMovement_SA) November 30, 2020

However, the ANC Women’s League in the area doesn’t share ATM’s sentiments.

Regional convener of the Women’s League RTT, Thembalam Xhego, believes that more focus is needed in rural areas to educate communities about this social ill.

“We are saying we must continue embarking on awareness campaigns. To the perpetrators, we are saying they must not get bail. They must rot in jail.”

Residents from Sidabekweni and surrounding villages want the suspect to be denied bail.

Khula Development wants the matter to be completed as soon as possible. Its Director, Petros Majola, has called on the state to deny the suspect legal representation.

“We would not understand when one says it will be postponed for further investigations. What is it that is going to be investigated? Because the bodies are there at the mortuary and the accused person is there and therefore there is no need for a delay.”

The accused who was escorted in court and chained on legs and hands indicated that he wants a Shona language interpreter as he’s from Zimbabwe.

He has also opted for a state representative.

Meanwhile, his case has been postponed to December the 7th while he remains in custody.

Makula is facing six counts of murder and one of conspiracy to murder.

The police had to use rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protesting residents at court. The residents were preventing the police vehicle transporting the multi-murder suspect from exiting the court precinct.

GRAPHIC CONTENT: The family is struggling to come to terms with the killings

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