A 39-year-old man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering and burning an eight-month pregnant teacher.

Nkosingiphile Morris Ngubane pleaded guilty to murdering Hlengiwe Ndaba, 35, in the Estcourt Regional Court this week.

The police said Ndaba’s human remains were found in a burnt out vehicle on July 20. A DNA test later confirmed it was her.

Colonel Thembeka Mbele said “The body was burnt beyond recognition and the vehicle had bullet holes. The post-mortem revealed that the recovered remains was of a woman who was eight months pregnant”.

Ndaba was a teacher at a school in Amangwe. Three other people have also been arrested and charged with her murder.

The police further said Ndaba’s colleague Nokubonga Fortunate Dubazane, 35, was arrested in Estcourt on September 1. Two days later, Mqapheli Miya, 46 was arrested in the Emmaus area.

Mbele also said the third accused, Nkosingiphile Morris Ngubane, 36, was arrested on September 26. “Police traced and arrested Ngubane in Tembisa in Gauteng where he was hiding.”

She said their cases were adjourned to October 29 in the Colenso Magistrate’s Court.

The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula praised the Winterton SAPS investigating officer for thoroughly investigating the murder case which led to the successfully prosecution of the accused.

He said “I am pleased with the sentence handed down against the accused and we hope that this sentence will bring comfort to the family”.

At the time of the arrest, Ndaba’s sister, Xolile, told the media that the family were shocked to learn that a colleague had been arrested and more especially shocked it was a woman.

She said “She worked with her and she knew she was pregnant. She knew she had little power to fight back. We had thought a man would have been arrested and that maybe they had tried to hijack my sister – we never thought it would be a woman she knew”.