The community of Ntabethemba, Tentergate, supported by the area’s ANC formations marched outside the Ntabethemba magistrate’s court on Wednesday, when a 63-year-old man appeared on charges of the murder of his mistress, Simamkele Kambi, last week.
Just three days after Women’s Month ended, 31-year-old Kambi was found dead and locked in a room with her alleged murderer in his home in Tentergate last Thursday afternoon.
Kambi’s sister, Mihlali told of how her younger sister had endured an abusive relationship with the married man since 2017, and she had regularly advised her to leave the man before something extremely bad happened to her.
On the fateful night, Mihlali said her sister and the accused had a quarrel during the day and ended up at the man’s house after he went to fetch her from a local tavern.
“On Thursday morning we went to the accused’s house like we normally did and had some beverages outside while we waited for him and my sister. However, he behaved very strangely when he did allow us to enter and kept saying my sister was asleep. At the back of my mind I thought my sister had been badly beaten because that was the norm, and that she was embarrassed to come out.
“We continued to sit outside, and he occasionally came out to attend to people looking for him. Eventually one of his friends came looking for him and my aunt persuaded him to go into their room and look for my sister. He had to force his way into the room, where he found my sister dead.”
Mihlali said the accused’s brother, who had no idea of the incident, took him to the police station to report what he had done.
“It was, and still is, a painful time for the family and the whole village because nothing like this has ever happened in our community. We are hurt and disgusted by the way my sister was killed. I keep asking myself if my sister had not listened when we discussed gender-based violence (GBV) in her presence or when public service announcements were made in the media.”
She said when the family went to view the body at the state mortuary, Kambi had stab wounds on the arm, strangulation marks on her neck and bruises all over her body which she said showed intense beating.
The Ntabethemba ANC branch, with its women’s and youth leagues, came out in numbers to campaign against the accused being granted bail and to support the family.
ANC Ntabethemba ward councillor and branch chairperson Nkululelo Ngcefe said the inhumane incident left a cloud of sorrow throughout the village.
“We men are disgusted to have something like this done to yet another woman after all the campaigns against GBV. The organisation decided to support the family and stand against GBV. The accused should be denied bail. He is not welcome in our community until justice that equates to his crime is served. Women have become anxious since the incident happened and we fear for those who continue to suffer at the hands of men.”
Ngcefe said the accused had taken the life of someone who took care of her sickly brother, who would now not have anyone to look after him.
“It is a sad state of affairs. The family lost someone who had a great responsibility of nursing her sickly brother. She was loved by her family, friends and community members, but her life was cut short. We extend deepest condolences and promise to continue protecting and standing with women in the fight against GBV because it is not theirs alone.”
Police spokesperson captain Namhla Mdleleni said the case was postponed to September 30 for a formal bail application.