Former Jozi FM DJ Donald Sebolai broke down on Wednesday in the the High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in Palm Ridge, as he described his grief when he realised that his girlfriend, Dolly Tshabalala, was dead.
“When I entered the flat, I called her again. I said, ‘Lala wake up, so I can take you to the hospital’.
“I went straight to the bedroom. When I got there, I called her name, but she was not responding. I called her name again,” he said, fighting back tears.
Tshabalala was lying on the bed with a stab wound from her pelvic bone to her inner thigh.
The court had heard earlier that Tshabalala was stabbed as the pair wrestled for a knife, which she had used to stab Sebolai, cutting his fingers. The two had quarrelled when Tshabalala accused him of cheating on her with the mother of one of his three children.
He told the court that once he realised Tshabalala had been injured, he helped her onto the bed, wiped the blood from the floor and helped her change out of her bloodied pyjamas. He then told her he would take her to the hospital.
“I went to the bedroom where she was. I saw that the towel was full of blood as well as the pyjama pants. I said to her since these are full of blood, let us remove them and put on clean ones so I can take you to hospital.”
‘I tried to perform CPR on her’
He told the court that Tshabalala co-operated and moved around the bed as he took off the bloodied pants and changed into clean ones.
“I remember saying to her, ‘Let me take these items to the car. I will come back for you’,” Sebolai said.
He said he took Tshabalala’s bloodied towel and gown, which he had used to wipe the floor, as well as the steak knife which had injured her, to the car.
He returned from the vehicle and found her dead.
“I tried to perform CPR on her, but there was no response,” Sebolai said.
“I was really shocked. I did not know what to do. I did not believe that Dolly had died. I went and sat on the couch, thinking that maybe she would wake up.
“I remember going back to the bathroom. There was blood on the carpets in the bathroom. I put them in the washing machine. I went to the second bedroom and there were clothes on top of the ironing board and I took those to the car.
“I don’t have a reason for having put the carpets in the washing machine. I don’t know why. I didn’t switch the washing machine on,” he said.
Sebolai said as he sat in his flat, he went to Tshabalala’s corpse numerous times and called her name, but she did not wake up.
He said he was worried about how he would explain the incident to Tshabalala’s mother.
‘I was feeling like it was a dream’
While in his panicked state, Sebolai said he later heard Tshabalala’s phone ring. It was her friend.
He told her they were still eating and would call her back, Sebolai said.
He later called the friend back and told her that Tshabalala had died.
“I said to her ‘Dolly has passed on’. She said I was joking and I should stop joking in that manner. I told her that this was true. I then hung up because she kept saying that I was lying and fooling her,” Sebolai said.
Asked why he had initially lied to Tshabalala’s friend, Sebolai said that he was buying time, hoping she would wake up.
“At that time, I was feeling like it was a dream and I felt like I was going to wake up from it.”
He then called Tshabalala’s estranged husband, Themba.
“I told him that Dolly had died and Themba asked where. I said in Jabulani at the flats. I then hung up the phone,” he said.
‘I sat in the car and I passed out’
He said he changed his bloodied pants, and left the premises in Tshabalala’s car.
The vehicle was found dumped in an open area in Jabavu, Soweto.
“I stopped at a place like a park… I sat in the car and I passed out. When I woke up, I got out of the car and left. I had no idea where I was going,” he said.
Sebolai said he wondered around the streets of Soweto from June 29 2013 until July 8 2014 when he was arrested.
“I did not care about food. I did not even get hungry. The only thing that was ringing in my head was this incident,” he told the court.
He said on the morning of his arrest, he decided to go to his cousin’s husband to ask him to accompany him to the police where he wanted to turn himself in.
He agreed to take him to the police station, but told him to clean himself up first.
According to Sebolai, they decided to go to the petrol station before heading to the police station.
“It had not been long after we had left the house… A white polo then came up behind us and it hooted,” said Sebolai.
It was the police.
They pulled over and Sebolai was arrested and taken to the Moroka police station.
He was later transferred to the Jabulani police station.