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SA: ‘Acted with premeditation and planning’ – Sifiso Mkhwanazi found guilty of murdering 6 Zimbabwean sex workers

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  • Sifiso Mkhwanazi, 21, has been found guilty of murdering six Johannesburg sex workers. 
  • He was stoic and emotionless in court when Judge Cassim Moosa handed down a scathing judgement.
  • Mkhwanazi will be taken for a mental assessment prior to his sentencing. 

The judge who found Sifiso Mkhwanazi guilty of murdering six Johannesburg sex workers delivering a scathing account of the 21-year-old’s actions.

“I rejected the version of the accused… as beyond false and found that the accused had acted with premeditation and planning and had formed an intention to kill the deceased,” said Judge Cassim Moosa.

He handed down judgment on Tuesday in front of a packed gallery, that included the victims’ families, in the Gauteng High Court sitting in Palm Ridge.

Mkhwanzi was stoic and emotionless through the judgment, keeping his head down.

The judge said that after analysing all of the evidence, he had found that Mkhwanazi “did unlawfully have sexual intercourse with all the deceased”.

“I further find the accused did unlawfully and intentionally defeat and obstruct the course of justice by concealing the bodies of the deceased, and which acts defeated and or obstructed the administration of justice,” he said.

Mkhwanazi killed six sex workers, all of whom came from Zimbabwe. He said they had demanded more money from him after they had sex.

Moosa said that after looking at the merits and demerits of the matter, he rejected Mkhwanazi’s version of events as being false beyond reasonable doubt.

“I do accept the evidence of the State witnesses. I further find that under the consideration of the totality of the evidence, the prosecution has discharged the honours to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused has committed the crimes as charged.”

He added that Mkhwanazi had failed to prove his innocence.

“His version is accordingly rejected as beyond false,” said Moosa.

Mental evaluation before sentencing

Prosecutor Leswikane Mashabela said it was the State’s intention to take Mkhwanazi to Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital for a risk assessment.

“The reason is (the) violence (meted against the victims) and that there was a pattern. He poses a risk. He didn’t just murder them. He targeted certain people. He is a danger to sex workers. He is a dangerous criminal,” he said.

Defence advocate Vuyo Matequka was not opposed to his client being referred for mental observation.

Moosa ordered that Mkhwanazi be taken for mental evaluation before sentencing was delivered. That is not expected to affect his conviction, but could influence his sentencing.

“The mental observation is so the court can deliver appropriate sentencing,” the judge said.

Moosa found Mkhwanazi guilty of six counts of murder, six of rape, six of defeating the ends of justice, and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

The court acquitted Mkhwanazi on a charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances and convicted him on an alternative charge of theft of a cellphone belonging to one of the six victims.

The 21-year-old admitted to killing the six sex workers between April and October 2022 at his father’s panel beating workshop in Johannesburg. He claimed he killed the deceased after they demanded more money for sex.