Brutally raped and murdered pupil remembered

2016-06-08 06:00
Photo: Makhosandile Zulu Pupils from Lower Tugela Primary School pay tribute to Nandipha Mbatha [photographed] (13) whose decomposing body was discovered three days after she had gone missing.

Photo: Makhosandile Zulu Pupils from Lower Tugela Primary School pay tribute to Nandipha Mbatha [photographed] (13) whose decomposing body was discovered three days after she had gone missing.

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THE memorial service of 13-year-old Tugela Secondary School pupil Nandipha Mbatha – whose decomposing body was found on Friday, 27 May, after she had been reported missing by her mother – was held last Thursday at the Tugela Community Hall.

Nandipha’s body was found near her school by her big brother Ayanda Mbatha (17) a student at the Durban University of Technology.

Ayanda said his mother called him on Tuesday, 24 May, to inform him that Nandipha had gone missing, but because Ayanda was committed to writing his assessments he could only return home on Thursday afternoon, 26 May.

He said on Friday morning, 27 May, he got up and asked a friend to accompany him as he went looking for his younger sister.

The visibly traumatised Ayanda said when he and his friend came across his sister’s body it did not dawn on him at first that it was her.
After close inspection he realised it was Nandipha, and that is when he immediately contacted his family members.

He said it appeared as if Nandipha’s eyes had been removed from their sockets and that she had been strangled.
Ayanda said that she had stab wounds on her thighs and the shorts she was wearing had been pulled down and were around her legs.

The deceased’s grieving mother, Nonsikelelo Manqele said she has been having sleepless nights since the tragic discovery of her daughter’s body.
She said she still has not come to terms with Nandipha’s brutal killing.

Manqele said her daughter was a hardworking, energetic and respectful child whom she shared a close and loving relationship with.

Nandipha was described by her Grade 8 class teacher, Nozipho Sibiya, as a down to earth and bubbly pupil who was academically full of potential.

Sibiya said when the announcement was made that Nandipha’s body had been found, school pupils became emotional, shrouding the entire school in a sombre mood.

She said pupils have been warned about using the path on which Nandipha’s body was discovered as it cuts through thick shrubbery, closing it off from public view, however, she said this was the first incident of its kind in the area.

Mandeni mayor Siphesihle Zulu said the municipality would work closely with law enforcement agencies in an effort to help ease the shock that has gripped the family, Nandipha’s friends, the community and her fellow school pupils.

“We are happy that our collaboration is starting to bear fruit as today [Thursday, 2 June] we were told that one of the suspects has been [arrested] by the police, and we hope that the justice system is going to take care of that case and it will be handled in a manner that will be favourable to our children and also to our community because as the municipality we are trying by all means to make our communities very safe,” he said.

With regards to the path on which Nandipha’s body was found, the mayor said though safer alternative routes are available for pupils to use it will be difficult to discourage them from using that one as it is the quickest route to school.

He said, however, the community services department has been tasked with looking into the overall safety of the area as well as cutting down trees in and around the area of the path.

“We are also working with the department of community safety and liaison to ensure that there are internal committees to deal with safety inside the school and one of those internal committees was established last weekend,” said Zulu.

KZN SAPS spokesperson, Major Shooz Magudulela said a 41-year-old suspect was arrested on Sunday, 29 May, and appeared in the KwaDukuza’s Magistrates Court on Tuesday, 31 May and was remanded in custody.

Nandipha was laid to rest this past weekend.

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