The Office of the SAPS Provincial Commissioner in Mpumalanga has commended the investigating team whose efforts led to the exhumation of women’s bodies at the house of a 25-year-old man.
Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, says five bodies have been exhumed from the yard of 25-year-old Julius Thabiso Mndawe, who stays in Masoyi near Hazyview.
“The man, who is now a suspect in the matter, pointed out all the areas where he killed, raped and concealed the bodies of the victims. [On Sunday] alone, police exhumed three bodies following the discovery of the first two, last week and two weeks ago respectively,” Zuma said.
The exhumation of the victims' bodies, aged between 15 and 24, follows the suspect’s confession to killing and burying the victims within his yard.
This follows a police investigation case on a missing woman believed to have been the suspect's girlfriend, who went missing some time in May. The case was reported to the police on 1 June 2019.
According to the information at the police’s disposal, the couple had reportedly met through social media and eventually ended up at the suspect's house, where they had an argument that led to the woman’s murder.
“The suspect soon realised that the victim was dead. He then reportedly buried her body next to a pit toilet in the yard. A police investigation soon pointed towards the suspect, who escaped through a window when the police went to his house looking for him. He was subsequently brought to the police station by his mother on 3 July 2019,” Zuma said.
Mndawe made his first court appearance at the Masoyi Periodical Court on 5 July facing a murder charge. He was remanded in custody pending a bail application on 17 July 2019.
However, in a dramatic twist of events, Mndawe subsequently confessed to the killing of another woman, whose body was exhumed on Friday evening. He then confessed and pointed to the three bodies that were exhumed on Sunday.
Mndawe is currently facing five counts of murder, including violation of a corpse and concealment of a body and rape charges, among others. He is expected to appear in court on Tuesday, 16 July, where all the cases may be placed on the court roll concurrently.
Torching of suspects’ houses unjustified
While hailing the investigating team for a job well done, Zuma, however, said he is perturbed by the incessant torching of houses in the Masoyi area by members of the community after incidents of murder.
“What is saddening regarding the torching of the houses [whose owners are] persons believed to be responsible for crimes, is that more often than not, these houses do not belong to the alleged perpetrators, but to their parents and/or their relatives.
“Several houses have been torched after the alleged perpetrators have either been killed mob justice style or arrested. This tendency is not only an illegal practice but also a travesty of justice in that vital evidence that may have been in the house could be destroyed, thereby destroying the prospects of a conviction," Zuma said.
Call GBV Command Centre
Victims of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) are reminded and encouraged to use the 24-hour call centre dedicated to providing support and counselling.
Launched in March 2014, the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC) provides immediate psychological assistance and referral for victims and assists them in avoiding additional exposure to violence by ensuring that they are moved to places of safety and shelters.
The toll free number to call to speak to a social worker for assistance and counselling is 0800 428 428 (0800 GBV GBV). Callers can also request a social worker from the Command Centre to contact them by dialling *120*7867# (free) from any cell phone. – SAnews.gov.za