Thozamile Gawula has been found guilty of burning his then girlfriend with a hot iron on her face‚ stomach and thighs‚ during an argument over a Facebook picture.
In the Mthatha Magistrate’s Court on Monday‚ Gawula‚ 30‚ pleaded guilty of attempting to murder Mihle Sibembe.
The attack happened at Gawula’s home in Mthatha’s Khwezi township on Christmas Day in 2016.
After the attack‚ the 26-year-old law student was stuffed in a drawer mounted underneath the bed.
She survived the attack and was rescued a day later by her mother.
National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesman Luxolo Tyali said the matter has been postponed to May 25 for the submission of the victim’s impact statement‚ which was standard procedure in preparation for sentencing.
In January 2017‚ her mother‚ Zodumo Sibembe‚ told the Daily Dispatch she had been alerted to the attack by a friend of her daughter’s.
“I then went to her boyfriend’s place to look for her. I found him sitting outside‚ and he told me he had not seen Mihle since Christmas Day.” She reported the matter at Ngangelizwe police station‚ then walked to the nearest taxi rank‚ where she told the story to a group of men. They accompanied her back to her Gawula’s home‚ where they searched for her daughter.
“We opened a drawer underneath his bed and found my daughter [unconscious] with severe burn wounds.
“. . . After she had regained consciousness Mihle said her boyfriend burnt her with an iron after he saw a picture of her and another guy on Facebook. The guy is her friend from Fort Hare University in East London‚” the mother said.
Gawula was arrested in January 2017 and released on R800 bail‚ but was re-arrested and forfeited bail after he failed to appear in court on several occasions.
He was also accused of harassing the victim on the phone. During the trial‚ prosecutor Nomava Buso told the court Gawula had “interfered with the witness by calling Sibembe on her cellphone on several occasions.”