Lebo’s final hours

2017-09-10 05:59
Lebogang Mathuloe

Lebogang Mathuloe

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‘I went to fetch my daughter, but I came back with a corpse.’ Lebogang Mathuloe’s mother is desperate for answers.

Susan Mathuloe had no idea it was the last time her daughter Lebo, who is listed as a model on the agency G3 Models’ website, would call her. Her phone rang three times before she answered it, just before 6am on Monday.

“Mama! Mama! I’ve been kidnapped, drugged. I fear for my life, please come fetch me here,” the 24-year-old model pleaded on the line.

“If anything happens to me, please ask the security guards at Pecanwood Estate. They took my phone. Mama and Granny, I love you.”

Then the line went dead.

Mathuloe felt like she had just woken from a bad dream. Lebo, she said, had left the family home in Kagiso, west of Johannesburg, two weeks before, and hadn’t been back.

While she was still in shock after receiving the call from Lebo on the security guards’ office landline, she got another from the same number.

This time it wasn’t Lebo speaking, but a man who introduced himself as a security guard at the prestigious estate. He told her not to take Lebo seriously and that everything was fine.

“He told me Lebo was safe with them and I must not panic. But I could hear Lebo screaming in the background saying: ‘Leave me alone! Leave me alone!’”

The security guard assured her Lebo was safe and in good hands.

“I knew that something wasn’t right. I watch crime channels, so I know once someone tells you she is in danger and tells you how much they love you at the end of the conversation, possibilities are it’s your last time to talk to that person,” Mathuloe said.

The Pecanwood homeowners’ association said that, after Lebo was found incoherent and upset, the security guards called the police. A female staff member then took her to the office.

“According to several witnesses‚ when [Lebo] was at the clubhouse and waiting for the arrival of her parents‚ she proceeded to take her own life‚” it said.

But Mathuloe disagrees and is demanding a thorough investigation.

The devastated mother sits on a mattress at her family home, comforted by her mother, Helen, who was very close to her granddaughter.

Mathuloe said she first rushed to the Kagiso Police Station for help.

“The agreement was that the police from Hartbeespoort were going to go to the estate to fetch Lebo and keep her at the police station. We were going to fetch her from there,” she said.

"I knew she was gone"

Kagiso police officers accompanied them to Hartbeespoort. When they got there, Lebo was nowhere to be found and they drove to Pecanwood.

“As a family, we were questioned before we went to the scene. From that moment, I knew she was gone,” Mathuloe said.

“Lebo’s body was lying in a pool of blood next to the estate clubhouse. I went there to fetch my daughter, but I came back with a corpse. She had only a T-shirt on and she wasn’t wearing any shoes,” she said.

“She had many stab wounds all over her body. She had a sharp wound behind her ear.”

Next to her daughter’s body were two white plastic chairs, covered in blood. Mathuloe believes her daughter used them to try to defend herself.

“Lebo died fighting back. She was a fighter,” Mathuloe said, insisting her daughter was murdered.

“It’s impossible for her to stab herself to death. I am going to fight. I want to know who killed my daughter. I just want justice,” she said.

North West police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said police had opened an inquest docket.

Several of Lebo’s friends, who asked not to be named, said they last saw her leaving the Taboo nightclub in Sandton with a new boyfriend in the early hours of Sunday morning.

“On that night, she was happy to see me. She hugged me very tight. Little did I know it was the last time I would see her,” said one.

Two of her friends described Lebo’s latest boyfriend as aggressive and jealous. Police did not respond to questions about whether they were investigating him.

“Lebo once told me she was on the phone with a male caller and the jealous boyfriend almost killed her. In another incident, we were on vacation in Mpumalanga and he throttled her,” alleged another.

Mathuloe said she had no idea who her “secretive” daughter was dating. She had heard her latest boyfriend was “doing everything for her”.

Mathuloe said her daughter was ambitious, brave and a dreamer.

“She loved singing, but she couldn’t sing to save her life,” she laughed. After matric, she studied nursing, but dropped out.

“She just wanted to be a famous model and she used to love fashionable clothes. She and her little sister Basetsana would match their clothes, and Lebo used to share the little she had with her,” she recalled.

Celebrity stylist and make-up artist Tebogo Ramokgadi said: “Lebo was my BFF; we were inseparable. I was the last person to throw her a birthday party, at my penthouse, in May. Lebo was supposed to be on my upcoming reality show called Diamond and Dolls. I am going to miss her honesty and sense of style. She loved shopping and travelling.”

Lebo dreamt of becoming a famous model.

“She would go to every casting. I even bought her a swimming costume that she forgot at my house. I am shattered and traumatised by her death,” Ramokgadi said.

Lebo, her friends said, was unlucky in love.

She married Swaziland pastor and IT specialist Njabulo Masuku in December 2015. The marriage lasted for less than a year.

“Even though they had their differences, Lebo loved her husband. She would be in a relationship, but she would still say she loves Njabulo,” said one.

Another said Lebo didn’t confide in her about why she left Masuku.

“She always said she would go back and iron things out with her husband because she still loved him,” she said.

Masuku declined to comment. Lebo was buried at Kagiso Cemetery yesterday.

Read more on:    johannesburg

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