Murder suspect's yard a graveyard of horrors
Update: The 25-year-old multiple murder suspect, Julius Thabiso Mndawe, appeared in the Masoyi Magistrate's Court today, July 16, in connection with the murders and burial of five women in the yard of his house. The charges against him have been formalised into a single charge sheet and he was remanded in custody pending his bail application on Friday, July 19, in the same court.
HAZYVIEW – FIve bodies have been exhumed in the yard of 25-year-old Julius Thabiso Mndawe of Masoyi near Hazyview. He pointed out the bodies of the victims, whom he had allegedly murdered, to police. Yesterday the members in blue exhumed three bodies following the discovery of the first two, last week and two weeks ago respectively.
The exhumation of the women’s bodies, aged 15 to 24, followed after the suspect had confessed to killing and burying the victims in his yard. Police were investigating a case of a missing woman believed to have been the suspect's girlfriend. The victim went missing during May but was only officially reported as missing on June 1.This investigation culminated in the gruesome discovery of the bodies.
Information at police’s disposal suggested that the couple had reportedly met through social media. An argument at the suspect's house led to the woman being killed. Upon realizing that the victim had died, the suspect reportedly buried her next to a pit toilet in his yard.
An investigation soon led police to Mndawe’s home, but he escaped through a window when they tried to apprehend him. He was, however, brought to the police station by his mother on July 3. Mndawe appeared in the Masoyi Periodical Court on Friday, July 5, on various charges of murder and was remanded in custody pending his bail application on July 17.
In a dramatic twist in events, Mndawe also confessed to the murder of another woman whose body was exhumed on Friday evening. He then went on to reveal the location of an additional three bodies that were also exhumed yesterday. Mndawe, whose house was torched by enraged community members, is facing five murder charges, as well as charges relating to the violation of a corpse, the concealment of a body, and rape. He will reappear in court on Tuesday, July 16, when all theses charges will formally be placed on the court roll.
The Provincial Commissioner for the South African Police Service, Lt Gen Mondli Zuma, commended the investigative team for a job well done. He did, however, express his concern about the increase in the torching of houses in the Masoyi area by members of the community in apparent acts of mob justice. He finds it worrisome that - in most of these cases - these dwellings did not belong to the alleged perpetrators of crime, but to their families.Several houses have been torched in the recent past after the alleged perpetrators had either died in incidents of mob justice or had been arrested. "This tendency is not only illegal, but also a travesty of justice in that vital evidence, that might have been discovered in these houses, were destroyed, thereby lessening the chances for a conviction," Zuma said.
Editor: Anchen Coetzee
Subeditor: Lynette Brink
Submitted by: Brig Leonard Hlati