Pastor killed, buried
MEMBERS of a church in North West are still in shock after they discovered their pastor and his daughter had died and were buried in a house they use for church services.
The church is the National Independent Congregation Church in Tlhabologang in Coligny.
The badly decomposed bodies of Elias Maretlwa, 61, and his daughter Leki Maretlwa, 23, were discovered by North West police buried in a shallow grave inside the bedroom of their house.
According to the police, the two were allegedly killed by the pastor's wife Bertha Maretlwa, 54, and her 16-year-old son.
Bertha is also Leki's mother.
After allegedly killing them, she dug a hole under her bed inside her bedroom and buried them.
Confronted by the family, the woman said she had buried them there because she was poor and could not afford funeral costs.
The couple were married in 1977 and have five children. The woman and her son have since been arrested and charged with two counts of murder.
Maretlwa went missing in November last year while his daughter was reported missing in 2009. No one knew what had happened to them.
The family said Bertha told them that the two had gone to Botswana to train as traditional healers.
She also told them that they would return on June 16, when a huge welcome ceremony would be held for them.
The two did not show up on Saturday, upon which some of the congregants became angry and demanded to know their whereabouts.
At midnight on Saturday, Bertha succumbed to pressure and revealed where she had kept their bodies.
Family spokesman Stanny Mnyakana said both the deceased got sick before they disappeared.
He said in 2009 Leki started getting sick and then later disappeared.
When they enquired about her whereabouts, her mother first said she had been married and was staying in Rustenburg.
"She later came to us and said she was somewhere in Botswana, training as a sangoma," Mnyakana said.
"In November 2011, her husband also got sick and disappeared in December.
"She told the family that her husband had followed his daughter in Botswana and that he was also training as a sangoma.
"She said they will come back on June 16."
A community member who attended the church said she would not attend the church again.
"I cannot believe that we prayed in a house where dead people were kept. This is scary," she said.
Former president of the South African Ministers Fratenal, Daniel Matebesi, said they were "very touched" by the loss of one of their members.
"We are saddened by what happened. Pastor Maretlwa was a respected man in the society and a good pastor, we are shocked by all this."
Police spokesman Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said the two were found in the same hole. "Only a skeleton of the daughter was found, while the father's body had become badly decomposed," Ngubane said.
Yesterday, magistrate Marthinus van Loggerenburg postponed Bertha's case to June 25 so she could find a legal representative. Her minor son was sent to a place of safety and will also appear on June 25.
The deceased will be buried on Saturday.