Dumisani Mkhwanazi has been found guilty by the Johannesburg High Court of the murder of University of Johannesburg student Palesa Modiba. He was found guilty on all five charges against him including defeating the ends of justice, murder and robbery.

Mkhwanazi was convicted for killing Modiba and burying her body in the backyard of his Soweto home after robbing her of her cellphone.

Madiba’s body was discovered buried in a shallow grave at Mkhawanzi’s home in Soweto in December 2015.

She had been reported missing two years earlier after visiting her friend, Tshidi Mkhwanazi, who is the niece of the accused.

Mkhwanazi allegedly killed and buried Modiba’s body in the backyard of his Soweto home after robbing her of her cellphone.

During his testimony last week, he maintained his innocence. However, he battled during cross examination, often contradicting himself and selectively remembering events linked to Palesa’s death.

He denied all the statements given by the witnesses linking him to the crimes for which he stands accused. The state questioned him about why all the witnesses, some complete strangers, gave evidence that incriminated him.

Mkhwanazi told the court he is surprised by this. He maintained his innocence but conceded that he had seen Palesa at his home on the day she went missing. He told the court that he left her and came home late after visiting friends.

He has been remanded in custody and the sentencing hearing is scheduled for 26 February 2021.