The mother of five-year-old Anovuyo Ndamase shook her head in disbelief as the Western Cape High Court yesterday acquitted suspect Bongani Dlamini of rape and kidnapping charges.
But Judge Ashley Binns-Ward convicted the 34-year-old man of murder, describing him as a “poor and unconvincing witness”.
Binns-Ward said he could not convict Dlamini on the kidnapping charge as “one has no idea whatsoever how the child came to be in the accused’s house”.
On the rape charge, he said there was “no direct evidence that the accused sexually penetrated the deceased”, although the fact the accused’s semen was found on his duvet inner and pillow cover, that was also stained with the child’s blood, “certainly raises suspicion”.
During his testimony, Dlamini said his semen got onto the pillow case because he had been “experimenting with different styles” during sex with a woman.
Anovuyo went missing in Khayelitsha on Sunday March 1, 2015.
Her mother, Kholeka Ndamase, realised she was no longer playing outside when she emerged from her house after an hour-long meeting.
The search continued until March 5 when the child’s naked body was discovered stuffed in a bag, along with her clothes, behind a house three doors away from the accused.
Forensic experts found the child had been bludgeoned to death with a large hammer, hidden behind a bed base.
DNA of both the deceased and the accused was found on the hammer.
Blood spatter from the child was also found on the accused’s bedroom wall.
Dlamini claimed he woke up and discovered the child’s body in his house.
He decided not to raise the alarm because he was bang cops and the community would think he killed her.
When state prosecutor Alta Collopy said he had a “golden opportunity” to apologise to Anovuyo’s family, he insisted: “I did not do it, even though it happened in my house. The child was taken by God.”
The case was postponed until October 24 to give the state time to obtain victim impact reports.