Women in KwaZulu-Natal joined hands at a memorial service yesterday to support the families of victims of the sugarcane serial killer.
KwaZulu-Natal first lady Zama Ndebele, accompanied by various women's organisations, joined the community of Inanda at the home of Nombali Ngcobo, the only officially identified victim of the killer.
Women clad in church uniforms prayed for the restoration of the dignity of women in the province.
"We are not here to open old wounds, but to give support as women. We have been deeply touched by your loss and the loss of the many other families," said Ndebele.
Ngcobo's remains were the first among the 10 bodies to be identified after being found in the sugarcane fields in Shayamoya in Umzinto.
Police said the killer lured women to their death by promising them jobs.
The two suspects arrested over the murders, a man and his girlfriend, remain in custody.
Emotions ran high as Ngcobo's sister, Thobekile, told how she had spoken to her sister on her cellphone minutes before the phone went dead on the day she disappeared.
"The story of a Good Samaritan with a job offer was too far- fetched to me from the first day she told me about it," she said.
She related the story without shedding a tear while everyone seemed disgusted at the manner in which she was killed.
Ngcobo's 17-year-old son Siyabonga held his two-year-old baby brother, Nkosingiphile, close to him throughout the service.
Ngcobo's mother, Janet, said her late daughter's absence was felt by all of them. "The children miss their mother terribly. The younger one often asks me if his mom was coming home with lots of treats just for him."