Women who paid with their lives
A case that counts among the more disturbing was that of a 36-year-old father who murdered his wife and two children before killing himself in a heated argument over their future together.
The couple were quarrelling and the woman threatened to leave the man and take their two boys with her. This resulted in the father going on the rampage, allegedly stabbing his sons, 12 and three, and their mother to death and then poisoning himself.
The bodies were discovered by the children’s uncle who had gone to check on his brother who was absent from work.
The uncle found his brother’s body on the floor and the three other corpses on the bed at the family’s home in Bapong, west of Pretoria.
In the city, 23-year-old Tsho-lanang Kgaladi was shot and killed at the Moot police station by her ex-boyfriend who was a police officer at the station.
At the time, Kgaladi apparently wanted to collect her clothes from the flat of Constable Vutivi Mabunda, 24, but was too scared to go alone.
She wanted one of his colleagues to accompany her. Kgaladi called the station to ask for a police escort. She went to the police station, and Mabunda, whose shift had ended at 6am, was called to the station.
While discussing the dispute with fellow officers, Mabunda drew his service pistol and shot Kgaladi. He then turned the gun on himself.
Kgaladi was taken to Eugene Marais Hospital but was declared dead on arrival.
Mabunda died at the scene.
Kgaladi’s death astonished those who knew her and again highlighted rampant domestic violence in the country.
During the funeral of Constable Frances Rasuge – who was killed by her boyfriend in 2004 but whose remains were only discovered this year – it emerged that Rasuge’s twin sister, Welheminah, was allegedly barred from attending the funeral by her husband.
The Rasuge family pleaded with the government to step in to ensure that the fate that befell Frances did not repeat itself. “We lost Frances to abuse and will not lose her twin sister as well. We’ve had enough,” the family said. Speaking on behalf of the family, sisters Mamikie Rasuge and Rose Khutsoane, told the Pretoria News that Welheminah, who works in South Korea, failed to arrive for her twin sister’s funeral, despite having flown to South Africa for the burial.
“We knew what was going on with Frances and kept quiet. But now we won’t any more. It is high time we speak out. We are tired of abuse,” said Mamikie.
Grace Ngwane was also brutally killed by her husband despite having a protection order against him.
She was stabbed to death with a knife and a screwdriver. Her husband and father of their three young children, Jabulani, then hanged himself. The family described the scene as “horrific”.
Grace’s younger brother, Tumi Khota, returned from the shops, where he had been sent by Jabulani, to find his sister gasping for air in a pool of blood. A traumatised Tumi called for help as he saw his sister struggling to breathe.
“I was woken up in the morning and asked to go buy airtime by my brother-in-law. When I came back from the shops, I found my sister lying in a pool of blood. I contacted emergency personnel for help,” he said. Grace’s murder was the third incident in less than a month in Pretoria North in which a man killed his partner.
A former spokeswoman for the Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Fredah Kobo, was shot dead by her boyfriend in a neighbour’s bathroom where she had fled after a quarrel. He then turned the gun on himself.
Another woman was shot dead by her husband before he too shot himself. Ward 4 Tshwane metro councillor Rebecca Morudu said the incidents in her area did not “sit well” with her. “We need education of some sort to avoid such things.
“We always speak of programmes for women to speak out about abuse and the problems they face. But I think we need to create a platform where men can also express their problems. We need to also help them to be able to deal with the problems they face,” she said.
Recently, a Tshwane metro police officer, Constable Mable Dimakatso Peete, disappeared after having told her family she was going to attend an early work-related meeting after which she’d be going to the house of her boyfriend in Olievenhoutbosch to drop off keys and collect personal belongings. But she disappeared.
A two-week search ensued and her boyfriend was arrested. He allegedly confessed to strangling her before torching her body. Her corpse was said to have been recognisable only from the lower torso because of the extent of the burns.
“He confessed to strangling her and setting her body alight in Limpopo. Officers went to the place he mentioned and found a charred body,” said a police officer, who cannot be named as he is not authorised to speak to the press.
The body was so badly burnt it had to be identified via DNA.