Mother bursts into tears in court

Pretoria - The mother of a pregnant woman stabbed to death by her boyfriend burst into tears when she told a Pretoria court on Thursday of her emotional and financial suffering since the murder.

Johanna Motshwane testified in the High Court in Pretoria in the trial of Johannes Tshepo Nkomo, 34, a production manager at a tyre manufacturer in Brits.

Nkomo was convicted on Thursday of murdering his girlfriend Baleseng Onicca Motshwane, 32, at her apartment in Brits, robbing her of her bank card and stealing R6 000 from her bank account in two cash withdrawals.

Motshwane, who worked in the procurement department of a firm in Brakpan, was eight months pregnant and about to give birth to Nkomo's child.

She died after being stabbed in the chest, with the wound penetrating her lung. Her body was found days later after her employers and her mother became worried at being unable to reach her.

Her mother testified that she was still mourning her husband's death when her daughter was murdered. Her husband had died of natural causes a few months earlier.

She was forced to go into debt to pay for her daughter's funeral and also had to pay for the bloodied flat to be cleaned.

She earlier testified that her daughter had phoned her the Friday before her death, saying she would not be coming home because she wanted to spend the weekend with Nkomo.

The vigilant caretaker at her daughter's flat testified that he had seen Nkomo entering Motshwane's flat on 2 February last year and leaving alone on the morning of 3 February.

No one else had entered the flat that weekend and video footage only showed Nkomo entering and exiting.


Nkomo claimed he had nothing to do with his girlfriend's death and that she had been alive when he left.

He claimed she had given him her bank card to withdraw money because she owed him thousands of rands.

Judge George Webster rejected these claims. He said the evidence placed Nkomo at the premises on the date given as the probable date of his girlfriend's death.

He clearly knew she was dead when he decided to withdraw money from her bank accounts and went on a spending spree to buy spares for his car.

It was not disputed that Motshwane was heavily pregnant and had no transport and it was unlikely that she would have given Nkomo her bank card and access to the funds she would have needed in case of an emergency.

It was also a strange coincidence that on the weekend she was killed, Nkomo suddenly deemed it necessary to call for a repayment of the so-called long outstanding debt and then conveniently lost the card after he had withdrawn the money.

Webster found that Nkomo had fabricated the "debt" in an attempt to hide the fact that he murdered Motshwane.

The defence argued that Nkomo deserved a lesser sentence than life imprisonment because he was a first offender who had a good job and supported his two children by another woman and his parents.

Webster said Nkomo's children would suffer because their father had murdered an innocent woman who was about to give birth to his child.

The prosecution said it was possible that he had murdered Motshwane because he did not want to pay maintenance for another child, but her grieving family would never know the truth because he chose not to play open cards with the court.

Nkomo will be sentenced on Friday.