1 225 days and no justice in the murder cases of Siphokazi Booi and Aaliyah Chingy – Action Society

This week marks 1 225 combined days since two of the most sickening murder cases in the history of South Africa, and the victims’ families are still waiting for justice. It has been two and a half years since the murder of Siphokazi Booi and exactly one year since the murder of Aaliyah Chingy. Both of these terrible milestones are an indictment of how broken our justice system really is.

On 5 September, 2021, Siphokazi Booi’s charred body was tossed in a wheelie bin near Mbekweni train station at a dumpsite in Paarl. Aaliyah Chingy was stabbed and tossed in a shallow grave in Delt in the Western Cape in February last year.

Sithobele Qeba (with whom Siphokazi was in a relationship at the time) pleaded guilty to charges of murder, defeating the ends of justice, assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm, the desecration of a corpse and failure to comply with bail conditions in the Paarl Regional court. The prosecution refused to settle for a plea, but will instead pursue a trial to put him behind bars for life. Action Society is pleased with the prosecution’s unwillingness to settle for a lesser sentence.

Siphokazi’s sister, Nontando Booi told Action Society the family cannot believe how long it is taking to bring her sister’s accused killer to justice.

“Siphokazi died in 2021, and it is 2024 and we are still in and out of court. This is bad, this is really bad, is this what the road to justice looks like?
Every single time we go to court, we are reminded about what happened to Siphokazi, how are we supposed to move forward as a family if this court case just doesn’t come to an end. Two and a half years is a long time, I in-fact cannot believe it. I really hope that it will conclude this year. I pray everyday for justice and I still have hope. It hurts us every time we have to go to court,” she said.

Exactly one year ago today, Aaliyah Chingy’s body was found tossed in a shallow grave with stab wounds covering her body. Just like in Siphokazi’s case, the man accused of killing her, Moeneeb Hess, was her romantic partner at the time and there was a history of abuse in their relationship. It went unreported until it was too late.

“I haven’t been in a good place over the last few months, because I feel like this case has been dragging far too long,” said Aaliyah’s father, Junaid Garth Francis.
“As a family we appreciate everything that Action Society has done for us, the long hours, and the work that was done in this case. However it’s the justice system that frustrates us, that keeps disappointing us.
“Today, we are going to cook and distribute food to the less privileged with the organisation which Aaliyah worked for in memory of her. She was a wonderful person, and did not deserve to have her life cut short.”

“Both of these cases serve as a reminder that perpetrators with a history of violence often perpetuate a vicious cycle of abuse, and sometimes go on to kill. Action Society calls for systemic change to keep these violent perpetrators out of society for good and ensure they are not let out on bail,” said Action Society’s Kaylynn Palm.

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