For the duration of his trial, Bongani Bhamuza Gumede stayed silent.
Gumede was arrested after the discovery of the bodies in a shallow grave of Zinhle Ntuli and her daughter Sinothile, with whom he lived in oThongathi.
Before handing down two life terms for the murders, Judge Thembelihle Mapipa asked Gumede if he had anything to say to the court, and offered his attorney, Patrick Mkhumbuzi, the opportunity to make submissions as to why the court should deviate from the prescribed sentence.
Gumede nodded his head.
When asked to speak up, he mumbled: “No.”
The court relied on the State’s case which alleged that on the evening of December 17 last year, Gumede and Ntuli had an argument, during which she threatened to leave him for her daughter’s father.
The next morning, under the pretence that he was taking her home as she had protested, he beat her and her daughter to death with a hammer and buried them on top of each other.
The only evidence which shed some light during the trial was from Gumede’s uncle Sibusiso Nxumalo.
He told the court that Gumede had called him to mediate when Ntuli threatened to leave him. Nxumalo had described them as a lovely couple.
During sentencing arguments, State advocate Vusi Xaba argued that the nature of the murders was brutal and that the court had a responsibility to hand down a harsh sentence.
He said there were no compelling circumstances that warranted a sentence less than that of life imprisonment.
Judge Mapipa said Gumede had not shown remorse and had tried everything to hide his actions.
“You lied to your uncle that you gave her R700 to take a taxi home, and knowing very well that you had killed her,” said the judge.
The judge said there was nothing that justified Gumede placing so little value on human lives, adding that his silence did not signify remorse.
Musa Ntuli, Zinhle Ntuli’s father, said he was happy at the sentence, although it would not bring back his daughter and granddaughter.