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Devastated mom's years of agony

By Nomaswazi Nkosi | 2012-03-20 06:29:47.0

A SOWETO mother has told of her grief at not finding justice since her only daughter was murdered more than two years ago.

Winnie Mogaki has worked tirelessly to fight for justice since her 23-year-old daughter, Nompumelelo Mogaki, was found murdered and stuffed in the boot of her car on the morning of September 30 2009.

"My daughter was always responsible. She always let me know if she would be out or late back home, which was not often," Winnie Mogaki says.

Nompumelelo had gone to work and told her mother she wanted to go to a shopping mall in Jabulani, Soweto, and then visit some relatives afterwards, after having promised to be back by early evening.

She did not return home that night and her cellphone was off. Concerned, Mogaki decided to go to work the next morning and wait to call her daughter's work number later in the morning.

Nompumelelo, who was affectionately known as Mpumi, had not arrived at work by 8.15am, which was unusual for her, says her mother. "I told my boss what was happening and he told me to go report her missing at Protea Glen police station," she says.

She called her daughter's vehicle tracking company to see if they could track the location of the car. The tracking company found the car parked in the driveway of a house in Protea Glen, where the Mogaki family home is also situated.

"When they told me that they found the car at a house in Protea Glen, I got excited, thinking she was home and I had nothing to worry about. I asked for the address but they gave me the address of a house that I don't know in Protea Glen."

She and a friend immediately rushed to the house.

When they arrived at the address, they found the navy blue BMW parked in the driveway.

The car was locked and they could see Mpumi's sunglasses and purse in the vehicle. Mogaki went to fetch the spare keys at home so they could open the car.

When they opened the car they made a gruesome discovery.

Mogaki says she collapsed after discovering her daughter's lifeless body in the boot.

"I kept calling her name, hoping she would wake up and I thought she was drugged and asked someone if they could throw some water on her face so it could wake her," she says.

There was no evidence of any sexual assault and the only signs of injury were strangulation marks on Mpumi's neck.

Mogaki says a neighbour told her he saw someone park the car at that house very early that morning before he jumped into another car and drove off.

This happened almost four years ago, yet the case has not been expedited even though a suspect - Mpumi's ex-boyfriend - was arrested for her murder.

Since 2009, Mogaki has been to the Protea Magistrate's Court and the Johannesburg High Court many times. The suspect was denied bail by the Protea Magistrate's Court and then the matter was taken to the high court, where he was granted bail.

The case has been postponed numerous times since then and was eventually withdrawn from the high court on February 29.

"We had to withdraw charges against the accused because our crucial witness turned against us and another was shot, leaving us with no prospects of a successful prosecution," says National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga.

One of the many issues the case has faced is the murder of investigating officer Major Moses Segapo, who was also the lead investigator of the Molemo "Jub Jub" Maarohanye case.

"The justice system is failing us," Mogaki says.