No bail for murderer of sex worker

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The artist had asked to be released in order to wind up his personal affairs before his sentencing on 20 April.

Deputy Judge President of the Western Cape High Court Patricia Goliath said it was “clearly not in the interests of justice” to release Mthethwa on bail “solely because he has wealth and standing in the community”.

“People cannot be treated differently because of their status in society and because they have wealth,” she said. It would “offend against the equality principle”.

Goliath rebuffed Mthethwa’s argument that he needed to get his affairs in order, saying that all other convicted people also had affairs to wind up.

Goliath also said that the fact that Mthethwa didn’t testify in court had “weighed heavily” against him, adding that there was always the chance that a convicted person would be a flight risk.

Mthethwa was convicted on 16 March of beating Kumalo to death in 2013 in Woodstock.

Kumalo was kicked and stomped on by Mthethwa, so severely that her liver was “virtually torn in half” and some of her ribs were fractured.

“The heinous nature of the crime should not be underestimated,” said Goliath today.

 

On Monday, Prosecutor Christenus van der Vijver had argued against bail being granted, saying that: “We are now not dealing with granting bail person presumed innocent; we now have a convicted person.”

Van der Vijver had argued that the application for bail focused on the fact that it would be an “inconvenience” to be in prison when he had to get his affairs in order, as well as the fact that he was “a good person”. “Is not really a relevant factor in this point in time,” said Van der Vijver.

In court today Mthethwa wore the same grey suit and black t-shirt as he had earlier this week, signalling to supporters in the gallery as he sat down.

Goliath said that she believed that sentencing proceedings should be concluded “without further delay”.

Outside court members of the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) demonstrated with placards reading slogans such as “Woolies doesn’t deliver to Pollsmoor? Agshem!”

Another placard had a picture of Mthethwa with a speech bubble saying, “No one seems to understand the struggle of owning a Porsche and 5 million rand home”. Another had a picture of him on his cellphone saying “Booth, urgent! Just heard they don’t serve gluten free in prison. HELP!”

William Booth is Mthethwa’s advocate.

This article first appeared on GroundUp

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