Tragic end to suspected lovers tiff

She was a student medical therapist, he was in the army

THE Limpopo department of health has suffered yet another blow following the death of a health worker in a suspected lovers' tiff.

Phuti Thantsha, 33, who was a student physiotherapist at the Siloam Hospital outside Thohoyandou, was found dead with a bullet wound.

Her body was lying next to that of her boyfriend, Oupa Makalela, 34, a member of the South African Defence Force.

It is suspected the two had quarrelled.

Spokeswoman Lieutenant-Colonel Ronel Otto said police have opened a murder and an inquest dockets. Investigations were continuing.

Otto said the incident happened at the hospital's single quarters where the couple's bodies were found half-naked on Sunday.

According to Otto, the room was locked from inside and there appeared to be no sign of forced entry.

"Hence we suspect that the man might have shot the woman and then himself," she explained.

"The woman had a bullet wound in the forehead and the man had a bullet wound on the side of the head."

She said a 9mm Norinco firearm with a magazine and one bullet was found next to the body of the man.

Forensic investigations had been done at the scene and police are still waiting for the results.

  • In February last year, Mpho Melato, an official of the department then attached to MEC Dikeledi Magadzi's office, was found dead in her townhouse in Polokwane.

Her throat was slit. Melato's boyfriend was arrested for the murder and is doing time at Leeuwkop prison, in Johannesburg.

Magadzi yesterday sent condolences to the family of Thantsha.

  • Meanwhile, three people, including a policeman appeared in court charged with the murder of Phalaborwa medical practitioner, Fandzo Nyathi.

Provincial police spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi identified the suspects as Edwin Mushwana, 46, Lepono Mohlala, 47, and Sergeant Mohale Raganya, 40, of Maake Police Station in Lenyenye, Tzaneen.

"The three had their first court appearance in the Namakgale Magistrate's Court on Monday where they applied for bail," Mulaudzi said.

Nyathi was fatally shot in the chest during a robbery at his house on March 21 2009.

The gunmen fled with two laptops, a safe, two cellphones, a licensed firearm, a Mercedes-Benz and an undisclosed amount of cash.

Nyathi's car was later found abandoned at Tswenyane village in Leboeng near Burgersfort, also in Limpopo.