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Frantic WhatsApp sent moments before Vlakfontein family slaying

Bongani Letele helps remove the soil that was used to cover four bodies in the house at Vlakfontein.
Bongani Letele helps remove the soil that was used to cover four bodies in the house at Vlakfontein.
Image: SANDILE NDLOVU

Nomfundo Khoza sent frantic WhatsApp messages to her family in the moments before she died – but when they phoned back there was no answer.

It was the last time they would hear from Nomfundo‚ whose body was found - along with the bodies of six other family members - in Vlakfontein‚ south of Johannesburg‚ on Monday.

“We could not understand her WhatsApp messages‚” said a relative‚ who did not want to be named. “It was something about her dying and being in danger. We called her and she did not pick up. That’s when we felt something was really wrong.

The family‚ the relative said‚ was beyond traumatised.

A stench noticed by neighbours led police to the bodies of three women and four children‚ buried inside a house in Vlakfontein. The gruesome find was made late on Monday afternoon.

“Police responded to a complaint from a community member after the person had noticed a pungent stench that came from a certain house. On arrival at the house‚ police found a pile of sand in the bedroom‚” said police spokesman Captain Mavela Masondo.

“A woman and three children were found buried underneath the sand. Police proceeded to a backroom in the same yard where three more bodies‚ two female adults and a child‚ were discovered‚ also buried beneath sand.”

The children were aged between two and 11.

According to a relative‚ a man identified as Sibusiso Ernest Khoza started staying with the family three months ago under the false pretense that he was a long-lost relative.

Police are now searching for the man.

He claimed he was raised at an orphanage in Cape Town‚ that he was a doctor by profession and had studied abroad. The family welcomed him because he had the same surname and he looked like a decent person.

The woman said they suspect her seven relatives were poisoned or killed with some sort of chemical.

What started out as a normal day turned into a nightmare when the family member rushed to the house to see why they were not answering their phones.

“I got there and it was quiet and locked. I asked the neighbours and they said it had been days since they saw them. I got worried‚” she said.

She then jumped over the fence and searched the yard‚ only to be met by a strong smell of disinfectant fluid.

“It was so strong‚” she said.

She phoned the boyfriend of Mbali Khoza‚ one of the family members who lived in the house.

“He told me he was at the taxi rank and I had to wait for him to open the doors and gate. It was very smelly. We waited for the police‚” she said.

The woman said the yard was full of flies.

“What the police found was shocking and beyond terrifying‚” she said.

Police are searching for Sibusiso Ernest Khoza‚ who they believe could assist them with their investigation.

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