Mother finds daughter’s body

2013-03-02 00:00

UNHAPPY with the tardiness of police investigating her daughter’s disappearance, an Umlazi mother was forced to turn detective this week.

To her horror, Mbali Sabela (25), found her eight-year-old child’s body in an overgrown bush at a school yard on Thursday.

She had followed up on reports of a foul smell from the area.

Nonjabulo Sabela, a Grade 3 pupil at the Mzwilili Junior Primary School, had gone missing the previous Friday.

Police had earlier refused to do a door-to-door search for the little girl.

They apparently told her mom and dad it was too dangerous to do so.

When reports of a foul smell at the school surfaced on Thursday, the investigating officer said he would investigate the following day.

Sabela collapsed when she found Nonjabulo’s body in a thicket in the school yard.

Nonjabulo was still wearing her school uniform, her panties lay about four metres away, and her school bag and juice bottle were nearby.

Her eyes were apparently gouged out, although police would not confirm this.

It is feared that Nonjabulo was raped before she was killed.

Sabela was too distraught to speak yesterday.

Her partner, Hawula Khuzwayo, tried to comfort her, but sobbed as he spoke about their little girl.

“How can this happen to my only child?

“I begged the police to do a door-to-door search, but they said it was too dangerous. Maybe if they had, she would have been found alive.

“It means more kids are going to die because the police are too scared to do their job.”

It was important that police caught Nonjabulo’s killer, “because he’ll continue hurting more children”, said Khuzwayo.

“You would think only an animal is capable of doing such a terrible thing, and not human beings.”

He spoke of how Nonjabulo had hoped to become a social worker to help people.

“She had a good heart and was very sensitive towards other people’s pain.”

Sabela was trying to cope with the horror of discovering her daughter’s body, Khuzwayo said.

“She said she can’t stay at Umlazi anymore and is planning to relocate.”

Nonjabulo’s grandmother, Albertina Khuzwayo, said people had told the family on Thursday that there was a foul smell emanating from the bushes at the school.

“When we called the investigating officer, he told us he could only go to check the area on Friday. Nonjabulo’s mother went to look for her daughter in the bushes herself. That’s when they found her,” she said.

“I believe she wasn’t abducted by a stranger; she was too clever for that,” she added.

Mzwilili School principal Sibusiso Mkhwanazi said he believed Nonjabulo was killed elsewhere and then dumped at the school.

The school cleaned the dense bush regularly, although its growth was rapid.

Zodwa Mabizela, who taught Nonjabulo, said she “was a humble girl and down to earth”.

“Every time I look at the back of the class, I think I’ll see her.”

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said a postmortem would be performed and he would prefer not to speculate on whether Nonjabulo was raped and mutilated.

However, police suspected that she was killed elsewhere and her body then dumped at the school.

“Our dog unit searched the bush thoroughly and could not find her,” Naicker said.

There would have to be a “substantial reason” for police to do door-to-door searches, adding that officers acted on information they could follow up.

Police were confident of catching Nonjabulo’s killer, he said.

Education MEC Senzo Mchunu, who visited Sabela yesterday, promised to clear the bushes at the school.

“Instead of bush, we want to see a nice playground for our children.”

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