A total of five bodies have been exhumed from a yard of 25-year-old Julius Thabiso Mndawe who stays in Masoyi near Hazyview. The man who is now a suspect on the matter pointed out all the areas where he killed, raped and concealed the bodies of the victims. Yesterday alone, police exhumed three bodies following the discovery of the first two, last week and two weeks ago respectively.
The exhumation of the victims' bodies, aged between 15 and 24 comes after the suspect confessed to killing and burying the victims within his yard. This happened after police were investigating a case of a missing woman believed to have been the suspect's girlfriend, who went missing some time in May, and was reported as such on 01 June 2019.
Information at police disposal suggested that 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 being killed. 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 they (police) went to his house looking for him. He was subsequently brought to the police station by his mother, on 03 July 2019.
Mndawe first appeared at the Masoyi Periodical Court on Friday, 05 July 2019, facing murder, where he was remanded in custody pending bail application on 17 July 2019.
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 yesterday.
Mndawe, whose house was torched by enraged members of the community, is currently facing five counts of murder, violation of a corpse and concealment of a body charges among others as well as rape, will appear in court on Tuesday, 16 July 2019, where all the cases may be placed on the court roll concurrently.
The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma hailed the investigating team for a job well done. He, however, is perturbed by the incessant torching of houses in the Masoyi area by members of the community, after incidences of murder.
What is saddening regarding the torching of the houses where 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, also 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 prospects of a conviction", said General Zuma.