Heavy sentence sought after murderer pleads guilty

Henry

Sandile Jegwa, himself confessed in the Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court that he is a murderer.

“We were alone. We argued and I hit her repeatedly with a hammer,” he explained how he killed 34-year-old Cleo Diko.

Diko was a mother of three children who disappeared in October 2022. Her decomposed body was found three months later, on 27 January 2023, in Mandalay in Cape Town.

A rope was wrapped around her neck and her body was hidden under a bed, covered with concrete and tiles.

Kaylynn Palm, head of Action Society’s provincial action centre, says Diko’s identity had to be confirmed through DNA tests.

“Jegwa was arrested when the police received a call from a woman about bloodstained blankets and pillows that she came across when she was cleaning the house.”

Jegwa was arrested near a railway track, where he was staying.

He told the court he slapped and punched her until she lost consciousness, before attacking her with the hammer. He said he was beside himself with anger but knew his reaction was over the top.

Palm believes today was a big step on the road to justice for Diko.

“There were many emotions in court today. We are all relieved that the family does not have to sit through a protracted court case. The fact that he confessed what he did was hard to hear, but the family needed it to be able to move on with their lives and know that he will now face the consequences.”

She says Action Society has been fighting tooth and nail with Cleo’s family and friends since last year. “The case slowly began to gain momentum this year and today we walked out of court – one step closer to justice.”

The case was adjourned for sentencing until March 18, 2024.

“We will continue to support her family until Jegwa is punished to the full extent of the law.”

The public prosecutor requested that the court impose the maximum sentence of 25 years or more, and not the minimum of 15 years. “She pointed out that this is not the first time that Jegwa has committed an offense and that Cleo was the mother of three children.”

Jegwa has previous convictions for robbery and the theft of a motor vehicle against him.