The Sandra Smith Story

Sandra Smith was a 22 year old, who is now known as the last woman to be hanged in South Africa. With her boyfriend Yassiem Harris the two murdered 16 year old Jermaine Abraham’s from Mitchells plain, on the 1st of September 1986.

On the 1st of September 1986, Sandra Smith and her boyfriend broke into the Abraham’s family home, to steal because they did not have enough money to pay for their rent. The couple knew Jermaine who was home alone at the time and they demanded, she tell them where her mother’s jewelry was kept, when she refused to tell they resorted to inflicting pain and they tortured her until she told them. In an article I came across, it is said that Harris told the court about the things he did to her which included throttling her, with a dishcloth he also went on to describe how she wriggled for a few seconds before passing out. When Jermaine regained consciousness and tears streamed from her eyes he went onto his knees and told her not to worry. The delay in completing their mission angered Sandra, she quickly picked up a knife and instructed him to stab her to death which he did, he shared how he continuously stabbed her in the neck until blood began to pour from it and when he looked up at his girlfriend, she smiled at him. When Jermaine who was lying on her stomach wriggled on to her back, Harris still went on to stab her and when she wriggled free taking a few steps she collapsed. Harris then carried her into her mother’s room, placing her on her mother’s bed after stabbing her 25 times, as weak as he was she then showed them where the valuables were pleading for her life. When they realised she wasn’t going to succumb to the stab wounds, Harris closed his eyes and slit her throat silencing her forever. The couple claimed to have done this because they did not want her to identify them. Sandra even added a very disturbing element to their evil acts, describing how her boyfriend stuck his finger into the deceased girl’s vagina to see if she moved. As a woman this is a very disturbing story to tell, I just don’t get how she was okay with this especially when she was a mother and she knew the little girl. The little act she played in court, was very petty she should have just kept quiet like her partner.
To think that she was arrested two weeks after committing the murder, for a different crime because she confessed to it during an interrogation is scary, I guess our justice system has always been weak in that arena even during the apartheid years, the only difference is that the death penalty existed.
The apartheid years saw a steady increase in the number of people executed in South Africa, in the 1980s more people were executed per year than anywhere else in the world. On the 2nd of June 1989, Sandra became the last woman hanged in South Africa at the Pretoria Central Prison.

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