‘It’s good riddance!’

2019-01-25 15:29
Murder accused Ernest Mabaso with one of the victims, Dudu Khoza.

Murder accused Ernest Mabaso with one of the victims, Dudu Khoza. (Facebook)

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Good riddance. That was the reaction following the news on Thursday that the accused in the murder of seven family members from KwaCaluza had committed suicide.

Ernest Mabaso, who was one of the two suspects in the murder of the seven members of the Khoza family in Vlakfontein, Johannesburg, last year, took his own life in his police cell last week, police said on Thursday.

Fita Khupe (61) and Mabaso (27), were arrested and kept in custody over December after police sergeant Banele Ndlovu told the court at the two men’s bail hearing it would be a danger to society if they were granted bail.

The bodies of three adults and four children were found buried under piles of sand in October 2018.

“Society is now free from a dangerous and malevolent criminal,” said Thoko Khoza, the mother and grandmother of the dead.

On Thursday, Khoza said she was still trying to piece her life together after the murders of Mbali and Dudu Khoza, Dudu’s three children — Nomfundo, Luyanda and Sibongakonke — and Nomfundo’s children Karabo (11) and Nkanyiso (2).

“It is a pity we cannot openly celebrate, but it is good riddance,” said Khoza.

Mabaso was taken in by the Khoza family in 2015 after he introduced himself as a long-lost child of Khoza’s late son, Mandla.

Khoza said she heard the news of his suicide on the radio.

vlakfontein murders

Mbali and Dudu Khoza.

While she felt no pity for Mabaso, she called him out for being a coward, who could not face up to the consequences of his actions.

“I don’t believe that only two people could carry out such heinous crimes. Before killing himself, the least he could have done was tell the police all the people they colluded with to kill my children. We deserved that much,” she said.

She said since the incident, her health had deteriorated, and she had sunk into complete sadness.

“Things will never be the same. I think too much and sometimes I just cry. I ask myself what they went through … I think of their last moments. They must have been terrified. They died at the hands of people they trusted.

“I miss them very much. This festive season was awfully difficult.

“I spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve in bed crying and reminiscing about all the memories we shared together.”

vlakfontein murders

From left: Nomfundo with Karabo and Luyanda Khoza. Nkanyiso and Sibongakonke Khoza. 

Khoza said to help her get through the emotional pain, her family will start attending counselling sessions on Friday.

Describing Mabaso, who visited the family’s Pietermaritzburg home for a “few” days before the incident, Khoza said he seemed like a “humble” and “well-mannered” young man.

“I didn’t think that one day he would be the cause of my greatest suffering.”

Another relative, S’nenhlanhla Goso, said Mabaso took the easy way out.

“We will never know why he did it. We won’t get a chance to look him in the eyes and ask why,” said Goso.

The case against the men was due to sit in the Protea Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

Gauteng police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele said Mabaso was booked out of prison by police officers for “further investigations” and died while in holding cells at Cape Town Central police station.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate said it was investigating Mabaso’s death.

Makhubele told News24 that the court case was postponed to Tuesday for Mabaso’s death certificate to be presented to the court.

When asked why Mabaso was in Cape Town when the murders were committed in Johannesburg, Makhubele said police received information relating to the murders that led them to the city.

He would not divulge what the information was, but said it formed part of the police investigation.

Only Mabaso — not Khupe — travelled to Cape Town.

Police sources told News24 that the Hawks took Mabaso to the police station.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  vlakfontein murders
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