'At least Karabo's family has closure' - mother of missing woman

By Drum Digital
01 June 2017

The man who was allegedly last seen with Matati is facing a murder charge for her alleged killing but her body has never been found.

Lizeka Tandwa, News24

Johannesburg – "At least Karabo Mokoena's family has closure'', the mother of 21-year-old Linda Matati who went missing seven months ago said on Tuesday.

Gloria Sibiya has been tirelessly searching for her daughter who went missing on October 9, 2016 after she went to a party with her friends.

The man who was allegedly last seen with Matati is facing a murder charge for her alleged killing but her body has never been found.

She described to News24 the pain and anguish she has suffered having to drive six hours to Johannesburg from Mpumalanga every month in hopes that the police will finally find her daughter.

"I could say maybe for Karabo's family it is painful to know how your child suffered and died but at least her mother has closure. At least she knows where her child is buried. It doesn’t matter what state I find my daughter in, I just want to burry my child. I want to know what happened to her."

Mokoena was allegedly killed and burnt by her ex-boyfriend after she was reported missing on April 28.  She was enrolled as a part-time student. Police discovered her body on April 29.

Unlike in Mokoena’s case, where police acted immediately to find her, Sibiya said she was disappointed with the police's inaction to track down her daughter.

"I want to tell the minister of police [Fikile Mbalula] that SAPS is failing people. I never thought that I would be in the same situation. You find one or two people doing their job, but if their seniors do not care about your case, nothing happens."

Sibiya said she prays every day for the police and the public prosecutors to realise her pain and to take her daughter's case seriously.

'I couldn't give up'

After learning from her daughter's friend that the man accused of her murder was the last to see Linda, she travelled from Mpumalanga to Johannesburg to confront him.

Thabo Mosia had allegedly met Linda at a party and offered to drive her, while the friend got a lift with another man.

"Hours went by and her friend had not heard from her. The next day her friend called me. She told me Linda had disappeared. I felt it in my heart that something was wrong," she said.

"I didn’t give up. I couldn’t give up"

She said she tracked Mosia down and begged him to give her daughter back, before she involved the police.

"He told me that he dropped her off in a park somewhere, but his story did not match. That's when I knew something was wrong," she said.

Sibiya was instrumental in getting the Lenasia South police to take over the investigation into her daughter's disappearance. The case had initially been handled in Alandale.

"A colonel in Alandale kept resisting my questions, until I got very angry. I had no joy. I wanted to know why police don’t arrest the accused.

"I asked them why they never checked his car or went through his phone records. Something kept on telling me that this guy is lying."

Mosia was later arrested and charged with Matati's murder. In March he was denied bail and remanded in custody. He pleaded not guilty to the charge and maintains his innocence.

Police said during questioning he allegedly confessed to killing Matati and dumped her body in an open field near the N12, the court heard.

"A police lieutenant called me to drive back to Johannesburg. He said Mosia told police he killed Linda and threw her corpse near the N12. When he was asked to point out the scene, he told the police he lied."

The unidentified body, which police say was burnt beyond recognition, was found near the area Mosia had earlier described.

Two months after the DNA was tested to identify the body, the results came back showing that it was not Matati, Sibiya said.

"The two months I waited for those results felt like an eternity. I imagined all sorts of things. The pain my daughter had gone through. How she died and how this man buried her in a shallow grave like she was nothing. No mother is prepared to face that nightmare," she said.

'I just want closure'

Sibiya said the police are still searching for Matati's body.

"There are several leads, I'm told. Having to wait to hear how or if your daughter has died is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy."

She described Matati as a humble, hardworking, beautiful soul, who had a zest for life.

"I can't remember her giving me problems. She is a good child. I know that this man knows where she is. I just want closure."

On Tuesday, Mosia appeared in the Lenasia Magistrate Court where his case would be transferred to the high court of Johannesburg.

Seated in the front row, Sibiya’s glare was undeniably directed at the dock where Mosia stood facing the magistrate.

The case was postponed for Monday, for the Director of Public Prosecutions to issue an indictment.

Mosia who wore a brown jacket with noticeably long nails and hair styled in cornrows winked at a family member seated on the bench as he was escorted to the cells.

Sibiya accompanied by women from the ANC Women's League and SANCO prayed after court had adjourned for Matati’s safe return.

Maureen Selepe from the ANCWL said this case of gender based violence gave her sleepless nights.

"I have girl grandchildren. I lie awake every night hoping that wherever they are they are safe. It's tragic that our girls can no longer live safely in our society. We don’t have strength. We live in constant fear for our children but we hope that God will help us," Selepe said.

During Mosia's bail application in March, Magistrate Maggie van de Merwe said it was only logical to believe that the accused was involved in Matati's murder.

Van de Merwe told Mosia that she could not allow him to roam free, and he was denied bail.


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