Reports on the spate of gender based violence (GBV) in the country remain a constant reminder for a family in Queenview Park who lost their daughter after her husband allegedly shot her dead in 2018.
In an interview with The Rep, mother Andiswa Monica Shweni, recalling events leading to the death of her daughter, Lumka Dastile, still demands justice for the brutal killing, citing her frustration on the way the case was handled. According to Shweni, Dastile who was 29 at the time, was allegedly shot eight times by her husband of only four months. The husband, who was a police officer, then turned the gun on himself, but survived the suicide attempt.
Dastile, who had lost both parents at a young age, was a PhD student at the University of Fort Hare at the time. She was adopted by the Shweni family when she was very young.
“When she told me about her marriage proposal, I thought she was fortunate to get someone who wanted to marry her. Preparations were made and they got married. But there was trouble in the marriage after only a few months. I received a call one night when she said her husband was beating her. I requested that he go for counselling and transferred money for my daughter to come home. I tried to involve his family as well and informed them of his infidelity and physical abuse.”
Shweni believes that the accused entered the matrimonial union with a hidden agenda. “He wanted my daughter to have a baby so badly and he was seeing fertility specialists. Lumka said she had recently used her money to fix his car and he requested that she use more to start his business. I think that is when all hell broke loose.”
Shweni said the day she received the news of her daughter’s passing the couple were due to travel to Komani, but the husband indicated that they were no longer coming as they were attending a funeral on the weekend of April 27, 2018.
“I was at a friend’s house when I received a call telling me that he had shot Lumka.” Shweni said the landlady had heard screams and gunshots the previous night. It was reported that both were discovered the following day at the couple’s residence in East London. The accused was still alive and taken to hospital.
DispatchLIVE reported (Cop shoots bride, turns gun on self, May 3, 2018) that East London police spokeswoman warrant officer Hazel Mqala had said a murder case had been opened, but the motive for the killing was not known.
“I do not trust the justice system in our country. I was shocked. Nothing has been done since that incident. The accused came out of hospital and returned to work. He was alive and walking free.
An emotional Shweni said there had been no frequent communication between them and the police. “I cannot rest when Lumka died at the hands of this man. She was one of the victims of gender based violence. How can a case like this take more than two years? I demand justice for my child. A person we loved dearly died and we demand justice.”
Shweni said she had received a call from an IPID official late last year informing them about the case. “He made his first appearance in court on Monday and the case was postponed to November 9,” she said.