Action Society calls for harsh sentence after Cleo Diko’s killer pleads guilty

Sandile Jegwa, by his own admission in the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrates court, is a killer.

“We were alone, had an argument, and I hit her repeatedly with a hammer,” this is how Jegwa coldly explained how he killed Cleo. He elaborated that before striking her with the hammer, he slapped and punched her until she was unconscious. He added that he was overcome with anger, but knew his reaction was excessive.

According to Kaylynn Palm, Action Centre coordinator at Action Society, today represented a big step on the road to justice for Cleo Diko. “There were big emotions in court today. We are all relieved that the family will be spared a long stretched out trial. To have him admit what he did was painful to hear, but so very needed for the family to move on, knowing that he will now face the consequences.”

Earlier today, Jegwa pleaded guilty to killing the 34-year-old mother of three, Cleo Diko. Cleo went missing in October 2022. Her decomposed body was found three months later on 27 January 2023 in Mandalay in Cape Town. There was a rope tied around her neck and her body was hidden under a bed, covered with cement and tiles. Her identity had to be confirmed through DNA testing. Jegwa was arrested after the police received a call from a woman who told them about blood-stained blankets and pillows she had come across while cleaning the separate entrance where the accused stayed. Jegwa was arrested near a railway, where he was living.

“We have been fighting tooth and nail with Cleo’s family and friends since last year. The case slowly started gaining momentum this year, and today we walked out of the courts one step closer to justice.” The case has been moved to 18 March 2024 for judgement and sentencing. We will continue to support Cleo’s family until Jegwa is punished to the fullest extent of the law.

The prosecutor asked that the court impose the maximum sentence of 25 years or more, and not the minimum of 15 years. She pointed to the fact that Jegwa is not a first offender (he has previous charges for robbery and theft of a motor vehicle), and that Cleo was a mother of three children.

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