Shock and anger after man killed wife, stepdaughter before driving into truck
Limpopo social development MEC Nkakareng Rakgoale says gender-based violence has reached “boiling point” after the death of a mother and daughter — allegedly at the hands of a man who then took his life by driving into a truck.
Thandi Mathebula, 39, and her daughter Sharon, 17, were found dead at their home in Bela Bela on Tuesday.
It has since emerged that Mathebula was an employee of the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) in the town.
Police said the 37-year-old man allegedly killed his wife and stepdaughter — who appeared to have been strangled — and then drove the family car into an approaching truck, killing himself instantly.
“We are once again urging all our community members who are having difficulties in their relationships to seek professional help from our social workers who have been deployed across the province,” said Rakgoale.
“Incidents of gender-based violence have now reached a boiling point. As we speak, we have lost about 12 women and children at the hands of abusers in a space of two weeks. What worries me most is that the incidents are happening despite the department’s intensification of awareness campaigns that we are conducting in communities.”
Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu, Rakgoale and Bela Bela mayor Jeremiah Ngobeni visited the grieving family.
“Mathebula was an employee of Sassa based in Bela Bela. Minister Zulu says the nation needs to have a serious dialogue and address the root cause of gender-based violence,” said Rakgoale.
“As the community of Bela Bela we are very much shocked and angry by this cruel action, especially that it happened on the last day of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence,” said Ngobeni.
“It happened at the time when the whole country was up in arms fighting against these senseless killings of our women. We would like to condemn this act in the strongest terms as they also tarnish the image of the good men out there. They also make our women feel unsafe, unwanted and disregarded,” he added.
Neighbours became suspicious after an apparent domestic dispute and upon investigation saw someone lying on the kitchen floor.
“They immediately contacted the police who forced open the door and discovered the woman lying dead on the kitchen floor and the lifeless body of her daughter in the bedroom,” said police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo.