Family of a young woman murdered by her boyfriend distraught after he was released on bail two weeks after killing.
In the week that President Cyril Ramaphosa, when launching the 16 Days of Activism campaign, said perpetrators should not be granted bail, the family of a slain woman from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape has questioned why her killer was roaming the streets after being granted R3 000 bail.
Asithandile Mtyeku (22), a graduate of the Durban University of Technology, was allegedly murdered by her boyfriend Petros Mthembeni Ngema in Scottburgh in KwaZulu-Natal in August.
She worked as a laboratory analyst at the SA Sugar Association where she had recently been promoted to a shift supervisor at its Sezela mill.
When Mtyeku visited Ngema for the weekend on August 11, little did she know that would be her last day alive.
The two are said to have quarrelled because he suspected she was cheating on him.
He allegedly electrocuted her and later threw her body into a dam.
According to Mtyeku’s close friend, Ngema’s mother reported him to the police.
“During their quarrel he electrocuted her and she died on August 11. He then took her body and threw it into a nearby dam,” said the friend.
He returned home and his mother found him trying to hang himself.
“He confessed what he had done to her. His mother called the police and he was arrested. He was later released on R3 000 bail after telling the court that he was a breadwinner at home.”
Asithandile’s mother, Landiswa Mtyeku, said Ngema had a history of violence.
Three weeks before her daughter was murdered, he broke her phone in a fit of rage. Mtyeku said she felt let down by the justice system.
“I am very hurt and disappointed with the run around we have been given by the state in getting this man behind bars.
“I have lost not only a daughter but the sole support system I had,” said Mtyeku.
“Asithandile was taking me through school. Right now I’m coming from the library as I am studying.
“She supported the whole family and we have been left stranded. I learnt of her passing through a friend who studied with her at the Durban University of Technology.”
Captain Adam Francis of the Scottburgh police station confirmed that Ngema was arrested on August 11 in connection with the murder of Asithandile and that he was out on bail.
Francis also confirmed that the accused had directed the police to the crime scene. However, he denied the family’s claim that the police had kept them in the dark about the case.
“The family is aware that the accused was arrested and later granted bail. The accused is scheduled to appear in the regional court in March next year. It was the court not us who granted him bail,” said Francis.
The accused’s elderly mother Bonisile Ngema said the murder had shocked her family and left her with a “mentally disturbed” son.
“We are afraid of him but what can we do. He is not well, he went to the doctor as he has been having headaches. He has even lost a lot of weight. He is very thin,” said Ngema.
We are still in shock and processing the whole incident. When I ask what made him kill this woman he says he doesn’t know. He seems to have lost his mind. He doesn’t know anything.
Mother of accused
The mother was at pains to explain the family’s ordeal. “I am 82 and a single mother of four. Mthembeni is the only boy and none of them is working.
“I work in the farms. I didn’t go today [Thursday] but I will go tomorrow. The community and church have been trying to help us through this tough time. This is bigger than us and I really don’t know what else to say.”
Asithandile’s mother said she was disappointed with the Ngema family, who only reached out to them a month after her daughter’s death to apologise for what their son had done.
“That’s all they had to say. They said they were sorry for their son murdering my daughter. Petros only spent two weeks in jail and was released on a bail of R3 000,” Mtyeku said.
“They said he was a breadwinner and on that basis he was released. We asked what about our breadwinner? To this day we have no details of the case or why Petros is not behind bars.”
She said they were still waiting for answers and wanted to see him jailed for killing her daughter.
Women bear brunt of gender-based violence in SA
KWANELE FEZILE ZUMA
A trip from job interviews in Johannesburg to Mpumalanga ended in tragedy for two siblings when one was raped and shot dead while her brother was thrown out of a moving taxi this week.
According to media reports, Kwanele Fezile Zuma and Ngceboyenkosi Minende Zuma, both 22, from Carolina in Mpumalanga, were hitchhiking back home late on Monday from Witbank when they were attacked by occupants of a taxi that stopped for them.
The Capricorn TVET College student was found dead in her room off campus on Sunday. The 21-year-old was brutally murdered last Sunday, on the eve of the launch of the 16 Days of Activism campaign. She was reportedly stabbed 52 times. After an extensive search, on Friday police arrested a 28-year-old suspect at Nyakelang Village, 120km away.
Jiyane (16) and her three siblings were found dead after their father hanged them in September.
The body of the Pinetown Girls’ High School grade 11 pupil was discovered by police in a bushy area in New Germany.
Her younger siblings, Khwezi, Siphosethu and Kuhlekonke Mpungose, were discovered by their mother hanging inside their home.
The 14-year-old’s body was found in her grandmother’s yard in Heinz Park, Cape Town in September. Mallo was raped and her head had been bashed in.
The 30-year-old horse show jumper was found dead with her hands tied and a rope around her neck at a sand mine in Philippi in Cape Town in August.
Three men accused of kidnapping and murdering her will know their fate next year.
The University of Cape Town student, who was 19, was raped twice and killed by 42-year-old post office employee, Luyanda Botha. She had gone to the Clareinch post office in Cape Town in September to collect a parcel when Botha attacked her.
Botha, who confessed to the rapes and murder, was handed three life sentences.
University of the Western Cape student Hess (19) and her grandfather, Chris Lategan, were murdered in their new Parow flat in Cape Town in August. Hess’ second cousin David van Boven appeared in court for the murders.
LEIGHANDRE ‘BABY LEE’ JEGELS
The 25-year-old boxing champion was shot dead in August by her police officer boyfriend while commuting with her mother in East London. The boyfriend later died from injuries sustained in an accident as he fled after shooting Jegels and her mother.
The 32-year-old woman was brutally murdered, allegedly by her neighbour, in Cape Town in August. Volschenk’s mutilated body was discovered in black bags in her Bellville apartment building.