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Palesa Madiba murder trial: Dumisani Mkhwanazi pleads not guilty

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Dumisani Mkhwanazi, 36, appears in the Protea Magistrate's Court in connection with the murder of UJ student Palesa Madiba. (Jeanette Chabalala/News24)
Dumisani Mkhwanazi, 36, appears in the Protea Magistrate's Court in connection with the murder of UJ student Palesa Madiba. (Jeanette Chabalala/News24)

After numerous postponements, the trial of the man accused of killing University of Johannesburg Student Palesa Madiba finally got under way on Wednesday – and he pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

Dumisani Mkhwanazi stood before Judge Prince Manyathi in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg where the State read the indictment to him.

The trial was previously been postponed when Mkhwanazi’s lawyer, Dominic Thinani, failed to show up at court.

News24 also reported that the matter was postponed last week when Thinani told the court that he intended to withdraw from the case because he had not received instructions and had not been paid.

Mkhwanazi faces charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, defeating the administration of justice, and the unlawful possession of firearm and live ammunition.

He told the court he understood the charges and pleaded not guilty to all of them.

The State is expected to call 13 witnesses during the trial, including Tshidi, who is the accused’s niece.

The State alleges that Mkhwanazi is guilty of murder in that, on 12 August 2013, he unlawfully and intentionally killed Madiba.

It also alleges that Mkhwanazi assaulted Madiba, took her cellphone and buried her body.

He was also in alleged possession of a 9mm pistol firearm which he did not have a permit for.

Madiba went missing after she went for a sleepover at her friend house, Tshidi Mkhwanazi in Phiri, Soweto on 9 August 2013.

Her body was found buried in a shallow grave behind Tshidi’s home on 16 December 2015.

A neighbour saw an arm protruding from the ground, News24 previously reported.

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