Murdered Karabo Mokoena's charred body was found in a shallow grave in Johannesburg. FILE PHOTO: Supplied/ Mokoena's social media

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Karabo Mokoena friend, sister tell court of accused boyfriend’s violence

JOHANNESBURG, April 17  – A friend of Karabo Mokoena, who was allegedly killed by her boyfriend Sandile Mantsoe, told the court during his trial on Tuesday that she had witnessed violent incidents between the couple.

Mantsoe faces charges of last year killing Mokoena, aged 22,  burning her body and dumping it in a veld.  He has pleaded not guilty, and says the young woman committed suicide.

Mokoena’s friend Puleng Mthethwa said she had last seen her alive on March 19, 2017 in Soweto. Mokoena and Mantsoe were sitting across from her and she went to say hello.
“Sandile grabbed my arm and said why am I not greeting him first as the head of their household. I then took Karabo (away) and later took her back to Sandile,” said Mthethwa, adding that at one point during the relationship she spent time with the couple every weekend.
“In the beginning they were a loving couple until I saw incidents happen,” said Mthethwa, who had known Mokoena since 2014 and Mantsoe from 2016.
“The first incident was when Sandile smashed her phone when Karabo refused to let him put his finger print on her iPhone. We had just returned from dropping off a friend at the airport and Sandile said he would count to 10 and if she didn’t give him the phone he would smash it.”
In the second incident, Mokoena asked Mantsoe whether he would pay for the damaged phone, and he said no, held her by the neck and pushed her against the wall, saying he felt she had disrespected him.
Mthethwa said in another encounter at Mantsoe’s residence, she was watching TV when she heard an altercation and saw Mantsoe holding a naked Mokoena against the dollar before throwing her across a glass table.

Earlier, Mokoena’s sister Bontle told the court that, while looking for her sister after she disappeared, she had seen security footage of her entering and leaving Mantsoe’s residence.

Mantsoe had fed her many stories abut Karabo’s whereabouts including suggesting that she liked booking hotel stays, and that she had gone off with a Nigerian man, Bontle Mokoena added.

After Mantsoe was arrested, her tearful mother had asked him were her missing daughter was, and he answered: “I don’t know mamzo but I didn’t kill her”.

Mokoena said the relationship between Mantsoe and Karabo had begun in 2016 and lasted eight months before the pair broke up before her birthday on March 27.

On Karabo’s birthday, the family couldn’t get hold of her until she called the next day to say say she was in hospital with injuries sustained after Mantsoe assaulted her.

“One of her eyes, leg and her shoulder were bruised,” Mokoena said, confirming that photographs shown in court were of Karabo in hospital after the beating.

“I took her back to Mantsoe’s apartment and told her to take her stuff and we go home,” Mokoena said, adding however that Karabo refused to go home as she did not want their father to see her in that state.

The sisters then agreed that Karabo would go to her friend Michelle’s place.

Afterwards, Karabo returned home, when she stayed until her disappearance on April 28.

Mokoena told the court that she and some companions had gone in search of her sister at Mantsoe’s residence, where a manager showed them video footage of Karabo entering and leaving the building.

A security guard showed her Karabo’s passport and identity document, which he said he had found in a dustbin at the complex.

Mokoena said her sister’s relationship with Mantsoe had started off well, before souring.

“Karabo once said to me, Sandile sometimes speaks to me like he doesn’t care about me. Karabo would do anything for Sandile, even after the assault my mother said to Karabo that he would kill her,” an emotional Bontle told the court, which adjourned at one point after she started crying.

The sister of Karabo Mokoena, who was allegedly killed by her boyfriend Sandile Mantsoe, told the Johannesburg High Court on Tuesday that she saw security footage of her sister entering and leaving his residence.

Mantsoe has pleaded not guilty to killing the 22-year-old and burning her body before ditching it a veld last year, and claims she committed suicide.

Mokoena said Mantsoe had fed her many stories abut Karabo’s whereabouts after she disappeared, including suggesting that she liked booking hotel stays, and that she had gone off with a Nigerian man.

She said after Mantsoe was arrested, her tearful mother had asked him were her missing daughter was, and he answered: “I don’t know mamzo but I didn’t kill her”.

Mokoena said the relationship between Mantsoe and Karabo had begun in 2016 and lasted eight months before the pair broke up before her birthday on March 27.

On Karabo’s birthday, the family couldn’t get hold of her until she called the next day to say she was in hospital with injuries sustained after Mantsoe assaulted her.

“One of her eyes, leg and her shoulder were bruised,” Mokoena said, confirming that photographs shown in court were of Karabo in hospital after the beating.

“I took her back to Mantsoe’s apartment at Sandton Sky and told her to take her stuff and we go home,” Mokoena said, adding however that Karabo refused to go home as she did not want their father to see her in that state.

The sisters then agreed that Karabo would go to her friend Michelle’s place.

Afterwards, Karabo returned home, when she stayed until her disappearance on April 28.

Mokoena told the court that she and some companions had gone in search of her sister at Sandton Sky, Mantsoe’s residence, after she went missing, where a manager showed them video footage of Karabo entering and leaving the building.

She said she could not tell what time of the day it was from the security footage, but that Karabo was wearing a pink leather jacket and pink Timberland boots.

A security guard showed her Karabo’s passport and ID, which he said he had found in a dustbin at the complex. While the group was talking, they saw Mantsoe drive in with another woman.

Mokoena said her sister’s relationship with Mantsoe had started off well, before souring.

“Karabo once said to me, Sandile sometimes speaks to me like he doesn’t care about me. Karabo would do anything for Sandile, even after the assault my mother said to Karabo that he would kill her,” she said.

Judge AJ Johnson adjourned court proceedings after Mokoena got emotional and started crying.

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