The family of Nomvula Chenene have been left disheartened after multiple delays in the case against her alleged killer (Photo: Facebook)
After months of postponements and delays, a trial date has finally been set in the case against Sizwe Buthelezi, the accused murderer of Nomvula Chenene, a lesbian woman from Gauteng.
The development marks a significant step towards seeking justice for Chenene and her heartbroken family.
Disappearance and desperate search
On December 10, 2022, the 28-year-old Chenene went missing after leaving her home to visit a friend. She was last spotted leaving a pub but never returned home.
Her brother, former football star Bennett Chenene, in his desperation, offered a R10,000 reward for any information that could aid in locating his sister.
In March, after more than three months without any leads, the case took a turn when a woman, believed to be the girlfriend of the suspect, provided a tip to the police.
An investigation was initiated, leading to the discovery of skeletal remains in a shallow grave beneath a shack in Lakeside, near Vereeniging, where Buthelezi, 37, lived with his girlfriend.
These remains were identified by Chenene’s family on-site, recognising her through a gold tooth and the clothes she was wearing when she disappeared.
A trial date finally set
On Tuesday, Buthelezi made his ninth court appearance in the Vereeniging Magistrates Court. According to the Vaal LGBTI group, which has been monitoring the case, a trial date of January 16, 2024 was set. Having abandoned his bail application, Buthelezi will remain in custody.
The case against the alleged murderer has faced significant delays in the legal process, with multiple postponements.
Most recently, proceedings were put on hold when the accused was provided with a new legal representative who requested additional time to familiarise himself with his client’s case.
LGBTI+ activists and friends and family of Buthelezi have diligently attended court appearances. Although the delays have left them frustrated and disheartened, they continue to support the legal process.
“It hurts coming here but for the law to take its course this needs to happen so I will show up.” Nomvula’s mother, Nthabiseng Chenene, recently told Drum. “You see how her friends and people she had lived with come here in every court appearance? They also motivate me to wake up even though they will postpone the matter. Because this is the only way we will ensure that she finally gets justice.”