Residents torch houses of Bontle murder suspects
Ngwenya allegedly revealed to police during her arrest that she had killed four other children, including her two nieces
Three houses belonging to two of the people accused of killing Bontle Zethu Ditebogo Mashiyane and a local sangoma taken in for questioning were torched in Mganduzweni, near Hazyview, Mpumalanga, on Monday night.
The houses belonging to Bontle's neighbour Ntombikayise Ngwenya, another accused Thapelo Surprise Ngomane, 25, and a sangoma Samuel Tsela, who police are currently questioning together with his son Philasande about the mutilation of Bontle's body, were set alight by angry community members.
Ngwenya allegedly revealed to police during her arrest that she had killed four other children, including her two nieces – Silindile and Ntokozo Sifunda.
This came after a community meeting took place in the area where the people who attended the murder case against serial offender Collen Hlongwane, his girlfriend Ngwenya and Ngomane at the KaBokweni magistrate's court gave an update on what transpired.
Earlier in court, the state asked the media not take pictures or film in court as there were violent threats made against the accused by the community.
A witness who asked not to be named said this angered the community.
Though there was no ruling on the matter as the state had not brought an application, the matter was then postponed to June 24 for further investigations.
“A decision was taken to torch the houses. Everyone who attended the meeting agreed that the houses must be burnt,” said the man.
“There were people with containers filled with petrol and they went to the sangoma's house. There were people who poured petrol around the house without saying a word and set it on fire.
“The house was also vandalised. The community then went to Ntombi's house. It was locked but the window was open. They poured petrol around it and set it on fire. They then went to the other accused's shack [about 100m from Ngwenya's house], broke into it and set it alight,” he said.
When Sowetan arrived, there were no people near the burning houses.
Speaking outside Ngwenya's house, spokesperson for community safety, security and liaison Moeti Mmusi said MEC Vusi Shongwe is calling for calm and the community to work with police on the matter to bring the suspects to book.
He said the community should not take the law into their own hands.
Neighbours earlier told Sowetan that they started seeing Hlongwane in the area in January.
A neighbour who asked not to be named said when you looked at Ngwenya, you would not suspect that she could commit such a horrendous crime.
“What we know is that she works at White River. She would come back [from work] in the morning and you will see her leaving in the evening to go to work. We suspect she met Collen Hlongwane in the streets of White River because we started seeing him around the area in the beginning of the year. He was known among the children of the lady [Ngwenya].
“To the children in the community, he became known as malume [uncle].
“On the third day after the child disappeared, she was with us searching [for Bontle]. She's cruel because she even came with us, pretending she knew nothing,” said the neighbour.
Bontle's aunt Sharon Mashiyane said when the family moved to the area in 2015, Ngwenya welcomed them.
Ngwenya lived next door to Bontle’s home. Ngomane lives on the same street as well as the Sifunda sisters.
Mashiyane said she regarded Ngwenya as a sister.
“In life, our neighbours are more like family, we treated Ntombi like a sister but to find out that she is part of ... or played a central part in the killing of my niece really kills us. Her children were playing with our children and as the only thing separating us [houses] is the fence. We would see each other almost every day,” said Mashiyane.
In June 2019, Sowetan reported how the tragic death of the Sifunda siblings led to the killing of a local pastor and his nephew.
Pastor Bheki Malomane, 36, and his nephew Wonder Mbuyane, 24, were beaten and set alight by the community.
Their houses were also torched after a local traditional healer, who was consulted by the community, ruled that Malomane and Mbuyane were involved in the murders of the two little sisters.