Siphokazi Booi’s sister started sobbing in the Paarl regional court today, where Sithobele Qebe, or “Rasta” as he is known in the community, appeared in court again. Qebe was offered a Section 112-plea deal, but decided to take his chances with the magistrate. The case was postponed to 27 October, where he is expected to plead guilty.
The case is taking a toll on Siphokazi’s family. Even though the court was packed with people demanding justice, the family was devastated when they realised that the two-year anniversary of Sipokhazi’s death will pass without justice.
“My heart broke when Siphokazi’s sister started sobbing. I couldn’t even move to go sit next to her, as there was no more room,” says Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society. “However, the previously daring ‘Rasta’, looked run down in court today and avoided eye contact with us. He is still not showing any remorse, but people are saying Siphokazi’s name and it is getting to him.”
Sipokhazi’s dismembered and charred body was found near the Mbekweni train station at a dumpsite in Paarl, only 100 metres from Qebe’s shack. Her body was chopped up, stuffed into a wheelie bin and burnt beyond recognition. She had to be identified via DNA evidence gathered from her family.
Qebe was out on bail at the time of the murder after being charged with assault for beating Siphokazi to the point that she had to be admitted to hospital in August 2021. Despite bail conditions forbidding Qebe to contact Booi, he had her come over to stay with him. According to his own admission he mercilessly assaulted Siphokazi again in the early hours of 5 September 2021. She vomited and according to Qebe “went to sleep”. The truth is however, that she lost consciousness and died.
“He treated her like trash when she was alive and he threw her away as if she was trash – in a trash bin at a dumpsite. He is the trash that needs to be permanently removed from society. We are looking forward to the day – and that day will surely come – where he will be thrown away in jail and forgotten.