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Brother 'knows suspect' in case of murdered woman found in mineshaft

The body of Refiloe Malope, 31, was retrieved at a mine shaft in Benoni on Monday afternoon.
The body of Refiloe Malope, 31, was retrieved at a mine shaft in Benoni on Monday afternoon.
Image: Supplied

Though still in pain, the family of a 31-year-old woman who was kidnapped last month are relieved they finally have her body, putting an end to weeks of speculation.

Refiloe Malope's body was retrieved from a mineshaft in Benoni on Monday afternoon after she was last seen on May 9 being shoved into the boot of a car by two people at Kgaphamadi village, outside Groblersdal in Limpopo. 

“We are relieved we have found her,”  said David Malope, her brother. “I was with them when they retrieved her yesterday — I was just at the mortuary now. We are making arrangements so her body can go home,” he said.

Two suspects, Sgt Thabo Letudi Moses Mokoana, 40, stationed at Benoni police station, and Modirelwa Maxwell Mokoana, 42, were arrested for her murder last week.

Malope said he doesn’t know what happened or what the motive was.

“Right now we are not sure because the investigation is still with the police and I haven't had enough time with them to find out exactly what happened.” he said.

Malope said he knew one of the suspects, Modirelwa Maxwell Mokoana. 

Malope had previously told SowetanLIVE sister publication TimesLIVE that he was told by his other sister, Tshepiso, that Refiloe had been attacked by people who had asked for help with their car.

“She was sitting in her van where she lives and the people asked to be jump-started. She said to them that she was also stuck and could not help them,” he said at the time. 

“Tshepiso asked Refiloe if she knew them. She said they were related to her girlfriend and she then left and went to the shop. Neighbours said on her way back from the shop,  the people took her,” said David. 

He said eyewitnesses claimed to have seen two men force her into the boot while other men were inside the car.

Limpopo police commissioner Lt-Gen Thembi Hadebe thanked all those who were involved in the retrieval of Malope's body.

The operation, comprising the Gauteng search and rescue units of the police from Benoni, Tshwane, Sedibeng, West Rand K9, Tshwane K9, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane municipality disaster teams and the Limpopo provincial organised crime unit resumed their retrieval efforts at 9am on Monday.

After four hours, the body was brought to the surface.

Another unidentified body was also retrieved from the mine shaft and investigations are under way to determine the identity and the cause of death.

The accused will appear in the Nebo magistrate’s court on Thursday for a formal bail application.

They face charges of kidnapping, murder and defeating the ends of justice.


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