List of brutal GBV murders leave Mpumalanga top cop worried

Mpumalanga police commissioner Lt-Gen Mondli Zuma is worried about the growing number of gender-based violence crimes in the province.
Mpumalanga police commissioner Lt-Gen Mondli Zuma is worried about the growing number of gender-based violence crimes in the province.
Image: Supplied

Mpumalanga police commissioner Lt-Gen Mondli Zuma is worried about the growing number of gender-based violence crimes in the province.

This as police have responded to numerous gruesome and brutal murders since the start of the month.

Zuma called on all sectors of society - from traditional authorities to traditional healer organisations, from faith-based organisations to political organisations, and from community groups to schools - to use every opportunity available to sensitise men and boys to the ills of gender-based violence.

A statement released by provincial police provided a detailed list of the murders of women and children in recent months.

One of the most recent incidents involved a 57-year-old woman, who was found stabbed to death, allegedly by her grandson, in the Calcutta area on Thursday.

"Community members alerted the police about the incident and upon arrival they [police] found the suspect in possession of a knife, which may have been used as the murder weapon. He was then speedily arrested and is expected to appear at the Mkhuhlu magistrate’s court on Friday," said Brig Leonard Hlathi.

A week ago, an elderly woman was also found murdered, allegedly by a relative.

"On October 9 2019, the 66-year-old woman was killed and buried in a shallow grave, allegedly by her 47-year-old son, at Casteel, near Acornhoek. The community then gathered, searched for him, located and stoned him before setting him alight in an apparent act of mob justice," Hlathi said.

On the same day, a 20-year-old woman was stabbed to death, allegedly by her lover. He was also accused of stabbing and wounding the woman’s one-year-old toddler. The incident took place at the Vlaklaagte area in Kwaggafontein.

"The victim was allegedly on her way home from her cousin’s place on the day when the suspect approached her and committed this evil deed. The suspect handed himself over to the police on Friday, October 11 2019 and appeared at the Kwaggafontein Magistrate’s Court on charges of murder as well as attempted murder. He was remanded in custody with the case postponed to October 21 2019, for bail application," said Hlathi.

Meanwhile, in Pienaar, near Nelspruit, on October 4, a 17-year-old woman was found buried in a shallow grave.

Hlathi said the woman’s body was found by community members who had spotted a shoe protruding from the ground.

"The community apparently grew suspicious after they saw the suspect digging a hole in the area soon after the mysterious disappearance of the victim earlier on September 28 2019. The suspect, Vusi ‘Spirit’ Nkosi, who had been a fugitive from the law ever since was eventually nabbed on the evening of October 9 2019, at Mattafin, near Nelspruit.

"He appeared at the Kanyamazane periodical court on Friday, October 11 2019, where he was remanded in custody and the case postponed to October 23 2019, for a formal bail application," said Hlathi.

Police did not indicate how Nkosi was linked to the victim.

Meanwhile, on October 3, a woman’s body was found under a bed at her home in Shabalala near Hazyview.

"This happened after her children reportedly received a text message from her the previous day saying that she was being beaten. On the following day, the children informed their aunt about their missing mother and that her bedroom door was locked," said Hlathi.

"The aunt then advised them to seek assistance from the neighbours, who in turn broke into the room where her body was discovered. Her 37-year-old boyfriend, Trouble Gaorutwe, handed himself over to the police after being sought throughout the weekend. He appeared at the Masoyi magistrate’s court on October 9 and October 15, where he was remanded in custody and the case postponed to October 25 2019," Hlathi added.

On October 2, murder accused Mark Norris was alleged to have murdered his mother before committing suicide. Hlathi said the bodies of the two were found on the Tonetti Farm near Low’s Creek.

"[He had] allegedly shot and killed his mother before killing himself. They were both certified dead at the scene. The suspect was due to appear before the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court at Barberton on November 5 2019 on two counts of murder he allegedly committed in 2017," said Hlathi.

Hlathi said the situation had been no better in previous months.

In September, the body of a 32-year-old woman who had been reported missing in KwaMhlanga was found stuffed in her boyfriend’s tool box.

Her half-naked corpse still contained visible bruises. Her boyfriend, Thabiso Goliath Masehla, was later arrested. His case is scheduled to return to court on November 26.

Meanwhile, a 13-year-old girl who had also gone missing in September was also found dead in Malema section near Bethal.

"It is alleged that the girl was sent to a nearby shop by a neighbour but did not return. A search by her family and members of the community was launched and her body was discovered the following day by a passer-by, close to her home. A 37-year-old man, Absalom Masina, was arrested a day after the discovery of the body. He was remanded in custody and the case postponed to October 18 2019, pending a forensic report," said Hlathi.

In August, another brutal murder was reported in Kwaggafontein.

The body of a 39-year-old woman was stumbled upon by her children who became concerned when she did not open the door for them when they returned from school.

"It is alleged that the kids found the house locked and decided to check through the window as they had knocked and received no response. They then saw their mother lying on the bed and called out to her but with no response, they sought assistance from the neighbours.

"A 41-year-old man, her boyfriend, Enock Shabangu, was arrested the following day in connection with the murder. He was remanded in custody and the case postponed to October 21 2019, for further investigation," said Hlati.

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