South African women's rights groups and sex workers continued to demonstrate outside the Johannesburg Magistrates court on Monday, during trial proceedings of a 21-year-old man charged with murder in connection with the discovery of six decomposed bodies believed to be those of sex workers.
Sifiso Mkhwanazi was arrested on 9 October 2022 at his father's panel beating business and is currently standing trial for the murder of one of the women found, while DNA results on the bodies are still outstanding.
His defence team abandoned a bail application and his lawyer, Khanyiswa Mkhabe, did not give any reasons for her client's decision.
The National Prosecuting Authority's Phindi Mjonondwane declined to comment on the women's identities, saying the organisation would make the information public once DNA results have come back.
"Up until we have received the results of the DNA, we will inform the family members accordingly, and thereafter that information will be made available for public consumption," Mjonondwane added.
A sex worker, who did not want to appear on camera and goes by the name Cindy, said she was surprised to learn that Mkhwanazi had only been charge for one count of murder.
"I'm so surprised because we heard that he was charged for one murder in court, not these other five," she questioned.
Katlego Rasebitse, a representative from a sex worker's movement called Sisonke, said they are hopeful that more charges would be added with regard to the five other bodies that were found.
"We're dependent on the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) to make sure that more charges are added because there are more survivors," he said.
The trial will resume in December