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Murder, rape suspect found hanging in cell

Image: 123rf/ Allan Swart

The family of a 17-year-old pupil who was arrested for the rape and murder of his schoolmate is seeking answers after he allegedly committed suicide in police holding cells.

Calvin Chiloane was arrested on Tuesday after 16-year-old Nomthandazo Mabote's body was found in a shallow grave.

The boy apparently confessed to raping, killing and disposing of the body when he was questioned by police, provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said.

Mabote was reported missing after she left home for a study session with friends on Monday night but never returned.

Though Chiloane's family declined to comment further, they said they were in the dark about the circumstances leading to his death.

"I can confirm that the suspect committed suicide in the police cells on Saturday. But we have since taken [the] case to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate [Ipid] because the suspect died in our cells," said Hlathi.

Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini said: "He was detained at Pienaar SAPS to appear in court for a social worker's report and bail application. He was detained alone in a juvenile cell after his appearance in court on Friday. It is alleged that the deceased was found hanging inside his cell. He allegedly used his school shirt to commit suicide."

Hlathi said Chiloane was found hanging by police when they were doing routine check on inmates, adding that the other suspect on the murder case was released after police could not link him to the killing of Mabote.

Chiloane made a brief appearance in Kabokweni magistrate's court on Friday and was due to apply for bail today.

Both Chiloane and Mabote were the top performers at Ncakini secondary school in Pienaar, outside Mbombela.

Anele Siswana, clinical psychologist and lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, said families and communities have a huge role to play in cultivating the culture of good values among children.

"The concept of broken families is one of the potential sites that often contribute to problematic behaviour.

"Learners that potentially come from broken families where there is a likelihood of lack of discipline, rules and boundaries, may display different kinds of problems.

"Basically, context and system play a pivotal part in the way we teach, nurture and educate children. Where there are boundaries, structure and order, there is great potential to have positive outcomes of good behaviour," Siswana said.

Provincial education spokesperson Jasper Zwane would not be drawn to comment about the suicide, adding that the department was helping Mabote's family plan her funeral.

Meanwhile, Frank Maponya reports that Limpopo police have arrested two pupils for the murder of a schoolmate Tebatjo Nkoana, 17, from Mokopane.

Police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said her body was found at a dumping site outside Mokopane CBD on Saturday. It is alleged that Nkoana left her home for school on Friday morning and did not return. A passerby found her body. She was still wearing her uniform. The duo would appear in court soon.

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