Inanda resident Nomfundo Nduli was filled with mixed emotions when her ex-boyfriend was finally convicted in the Durban High Court for raping her and killing her friend. This was after years of struggling to get Dumisani Ndlovu behind bars for his abuse.
Nduli, who consented to being named, had opened several cases of assault, rape, kidnapping and theft against Ndlovu at the Inanda police station, but was never taken seriously.
The abuse continued even after she broke up with him. Ndlovu followed her around and sometimes stopped her from going to work.
He would forcefully take her to his house, where he raped her on several occasions.
Ndlovu, 31, was arrested in 2014 and was charged with rape. However, even while behind bars at Westville Prison awaiting trial, he haunted her by sending her messages through Facebook.
In these messages, Ndlovu threatened to kill her and said she would forever be haunted by his spirit if he died in jail.
Overcome by fear, she dropped the rape charge. Little did she know that even after spending three months in prison, he still had plans to continue where he left off.
“I was getting constant threats posted on my Facebook page. Eventually I dropped the charges, thinking that once he was out he would leave me alone,” she said.
However, he attacked Nduli and took her cellphone on November 12, 2014. She opened a case at the Inanda police station.
Two days later, while walking near The Workshop shopping centre with a male friend, Thulani Shezi, who was escorting her to work because she feared Ndlovu would be waiting for her, Ndlovu attacked her with a knife and accused her of “walking with a man in front of him”.
He stabbed her twice below the left breast and on the arm before turning the knife on Shezi, fatally wounding him.
During the judgment on Wednesday, Nduli wept openly in court.
“Throughout the trial I prayed that the court would find him guilty and punish him harshly for killing an innocent man who was trying to protect me. I prayed that Thulani gets justice. He was robbed of his life by a man who had no respect for others, a man who refused rejection when I broke up with him and refused to leave me alone,” she said.
Nduli blamed the police for not taking her abuse seriously, saying that had led to Shezi’s murder.
She attributed Ndlovu’s conviction to the swift work of a policeman from the Durban Central police station who was assigned to the case after Shezi’s murder.
Detective Warrant Officer Sivan Naidoo immediately tracked all the cases that she had opened previously at the Inanda police station. Nduli said it was unfortunate that a man was killed for her cry for help to be heard.
“I was admitted to hospital for days and all I could think about was the man killed trying to protect me and who was never going to see his children grow up. When he was buried, I desperately wanted to tell his children and his family how sorry I was but, instead I lay in the hospital bed fighting for my own life,” she said.
Nduli described Ndlovu’s conviction as the first step to ending her constant fear and suffering, but said the only way she would find peace would be to see him rot in jail.
“They must lock him away and throw away the key. He needs to be in jail where he belongs. I am relieved that he was found guilty on the majority of the charges and I hope that it is good enough to send him to jail for a very long time,” said Nduli.
Nontobeko Nogwina, Shezi’s girlfriend and the mother of their two daughters, testified during arguments for sentencing and told the court how Shezi’s sudden death had affected the family.
She said Shezi had started saving money to pay lobolo for her and they were raising their children together.
“He was working a night shift the previous night and I was waiting for him to come home. Instead, I received a call from the police that he was stabbed to death. He was everything to me and the children.
“He was our breadwinner. I am struggling to raise the children as I am unemployed. I have since been forced to move back to Harding because I could not afford living in the city any more,” she said through tears.