Varsity student up for gruesome murder
A third-year student at the Vaal University of Technology briefly appeared in a Mpumalanga magistrates' court in connection with the murder, mutilation and secret burial of his former girlfriend in December.
The case of Mandla Mathebula, who pleaded not guilty to murder, was postponed to July 6 while the court awaits the outcome of forensic investigations. His R3500 bail was extended.
Mathebula is accused of killing Advice Mashaba, 19, in the early hours of December 26 after she returned from visiting her new boyfriend.
Mathebula allegedly woke Mashaba's younger brother at about 2am that morning at her parents' home at Songeni village near Thulamahashe and instructed him to call her.
"She was not there and the accused allegedly waited for her to return.
"When she returned at about 4am he attacked her," said Mhala police spokesman, Constable Robert Makhubele.
What happened afterwards is not clear, but the girl disappeared for two days prompting the family to open a missing person's case at the Mhala police.
Police arrested Mathebula, but released him 16 hours later because someone had told them the girl had been seen strolling with some men in Hluvukani about 30km away.
The family called Sowetan, and the police re-arrested Mathebula after further investigation.
This time the police took him to court, but he was again released due to lack of evidence.
On this third attempt, however, his freedom lasted a mere hours.
After police sniffer dogs discovered a secret grave at the home of Hoedspruit-based police inspector Richard Mathebula, the accused's brother, Mathebula was arrested and finally held.
Mashaba's badly decomposed body was exhumed 10 days after her disappearance and a postmortem later revealed that her breasts, lips and eyes were missing.