Durban – One of the men accused of murdering nine-year-old Sadia Sukhraj during a botched hijacking at her Shallcross home was found guilty of her murder on Monday.
Judge Esther Steyn said that the State had proven beyond reasonable doubt their case against Sibonelo Mkhize.
The decision was handed down at the Durban High Court during which Steyn said the State had provided enough evidence to prove Mkhize’s guilt. Mkhize showed no reaction to the judgment.
Sibonelo Mkhize faced two counts of murder and two counts of robbery including charges for the murder of Sadia.
During the trial, Mkhize, 39, had insisted on his innocence. He claimed he was an innocent passerby and did not know Siyabonga Bulose, who is believed to have been an accomplice in the hijacking.
Bulose was killed as he and Mkhize attempted to flee the scene of the crime.
During her reading of evidence presented, Steyn noted that Sadia’s father, Shailendra Sukhraj had been emotional during his testimony. She said that he had acknowledged that it was possible that the bullets that killed Sadia could have come from his gun when he fired at the car in an attempt to stop the hijackers.
As Steyn went through the evidence, Sadia’s mother Lorraine, began to cry and was comforted by relatives.
The judgment brings closure to a saga that has been running for more than a year.
Sadia was murdered last year in a botched hijacking in Shallcross, Chatsworth.
Her murder elicited a large public outcry in the community as fed up Chatsworth residents demanded justice and complained about what they believed was a corrupt Saps in Chatsworth. They held mass protests outside the police stations until a high-level delegation of government officials including police minister, Bheki Cele came to calm down tensions.
Her family did not want to talk to the media after the verdict and said they would issue a statement through a spokesperson later.