Peter Manyama and his ex-fiancée, Rudisha Kempher, are on trial for the rape and murder of 5-year-old Linathi Solunte.
Jack Stander / Gallo Images
- A man on trial for the murder of a child he believes to be himself has accused the state of fabricating evidence against him to keep the spotlight away from his co-defendants.
- The other accused is his ex-fiancée, and they were living together when the child died.
- Sostenes Peter Manyama says the state is addressing the former-fiancee as a witness instead of the accused murder.
The man on trial for the rape and murder of a child he believed was his has accused the state of allying with him.
During his trial at the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday, Sosthenis Peter Manyama said the state had fabricated a new file to focus more on him than the other defendants.
Five-year-old Linathi Solonte died while staying with Manyama and his ex-fiancée, Rudisha Kampher, at their home in Mvuleni, Cape Town.
The child begins to live with the couple when Manyama’s ex-girlfriend drops her off at their home, saying that she is unemployed and struggling, and neither she nor her mother can take care of the child anymore.
Manyama thought Solonti was his daughter and had taken care of her before when the child’s grandmother had to move out of town.
The couple gave the mother money for food. She gives them Solontyi’s birth certificate and they never see her again.
Kampfer and Manyama had difficult schedules.
I worked a 12-hour swing shift as a caregiver from home while his primary job was at a board batting shop.
Before going to work at the plate beat shop, Manyama ran a shuttle service for scholars, then drove the staff to a restaurant at the V&A Waterfront after dinner.
Solontyi was hospitalized at Elsie’s River on September 21, 2019 with a serious head injury and was taken to Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital for specialized care.
Kämpfer said Solunte lost her feet and fell into the dimly lit steps in the house, causing her injuries.
The nurses and doctors had their suspicions, and before Solonte’s death, a pediatrician had performed a thorough examination of her injuries, and what he found shocked him.
The girl was so drugged that she could not speak, so her body told the short but tragic story of her life.
She had cuts, bruises, and marks all over her body, old cuts on her head, marks that looked like cigarette burns, lesions on the inside of her legs, and showed signs of a previous sexual assault. She was unwashed and her feet were dirty with fungus between her toes.
The girl was beyond expected milestones for her age; She was fast and could only speak Isiksa, so communication with her was difficult in English and Afrikaans, the couple’s native languages.
She died in hospital as a result of a traumatic brain injury on October 17, 2019.
Manyama later finds out through DNA testing that Solunti was not his daughter.
Kampfer and Manyama were accused of child abuse and murder. Manyama was also accused of rape.
Kämpher pleaded guilty to child abuse, but only to the extent of not reporting the abuse.
Staff at the Red Cross Memorial Children’s Hospital had suspicions about the injuries of 5-year-old Linathi Solonte.
She claimed that she saw Manyama rape Solonti, her defense being that she was too afraid of him to tell anyone or intervene.
She said she was finally able to open up when talking to a prison psychiatrist after she was arrested by the police.
She and Manyama pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, and Manyama also pleaded not guilty to rape.
Manyama alleged that Solunti was abused at her grandmother’s house in Makassar, rather than theirs.
On Monday, Kempfer’s defense attorney, Susanna Kohn, cross-examined him.
During the long answers, he alleged that the state lost his agenda and then created a new file with various allegations that held him responsible for Solonte’s death.
He claimed that there were also two different statements from Kämpfer about what happened to Solonte.
The first statement, made by a social worker, allegedly placed two children playing at the site of Solunte’s recent injury.
In the second, Solonte says alone and walks to the toilet and then travels.
He exclaimed that on the day the little girl was hurt so badly that she had to go to the hospital:
He also accused the state of treating Kämpher more as a witness than as an accused.
When challenged by Manyama in support of his allegations of foul play, Manyama said that all would be revealed as the trial progressed.
The trial continues.