SUSPECT: Gift Sibondo at court

Neighbours of a man charged with killing his 15-year-old live-in girlfriend told a court they saw him carrying the battered teen into his shack days before her body was discovered by police.

Zimbabwean Gift Sibondo is on trial at the Western Cape High Court for allegedly murdering Elda Jafta in May last year and stuffing her body under his bed at his home at the Zwelitsha informal settlement in Bredasdorp.

The 29-year-old pleaded not guilty to all nine charges, which include murder, rape, statutory rape and kidnapping.

The State alleges the accused first kidnapped Elda in September 2013, when she was just 13 years old, and forced her to travel with him to Johannesburg, Venda, Leeu-Gamka and Swellendam over nine months, during which he repeatedly raped her.

A day after she returned to her mother’s house in May 2015, the accused again took the deceased, before the police returned her home three weeks later.

Seven months later, the victim moved in with her alleged killer.

MURDERED: Elda Jafta, 15

Yesterday, two of Sibondo’s neighbours testified they saw him carrying Elda over his shoulder on May 29.

Kenneth Linde said he bumped into Sibondo on the street as he carried a half-naked Elda over his shoulder.

“She wasn’t wearing a top and that was how I saw the bruises on her back and was able to recognise her,” Linde said.

Sibondo then walked home quickly and disappeared into his shack and that was the last time Kenneth saw the deceased.

Sibondo’s tenant Constance Muchenyura told the court she also saw Sibondo.

“When I asked him what he was carrying, he told me it was his girlfriend,” she said.

“I asked him what happened and he said he hit her because she had not slept at home for four days.”

The accused was scheduled to appear in court today.