Mother's tenacity leads to breakthrough in daughter's disappearance

2017-03-30 07:08
Linda Matati went missing last year. (YouTube screen grab)

Linda Matati went missing last year. (YouTube screen grab)

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Johannesburg – A mother, who says she fought tirelessly for five months with police to investigate her daughter's disappearance, eventually made a breakthrough in the case - almost single-handedly.

Gloria Sibuye said, after reporting her 21-year-old daughter's disappearance to the police, she would take six-hour drives to Johannesburg from Mpumalanga on a weekly basis to find out how the case was developing.

Eventually, fed up with the slow progress, she took matters into her own hands.

Sibuye last saw her daughter on October 9, 2016, when she asked to be dropped off at a friend’s place to attend a party. Linda was a student at Unisa.

"Just a one-night party cost her her life," Sibuye said, tearing up.

She described her daughter as a humble, hard working, beautiful soul, who had a zest for life.

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 caught a ride in another man’s car.

"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.

Sibuye 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."

With tears running down her face, Sibuye recalled how the police gave her the run around for four months, with no explanation or leads on her daughter’s disappearance. Sibuye said she complained to the station commander in Alandale, who changed the docket from a disappearance to a kidnapping.

"I didn’t give up. I couldn’t give up. I would drive every weekend after work to check with the police. I wanted action. I wanted my child found, and I was going to make sure that the police are just as determined to help," she said.

During this time, Sibuye continued to question police on why Mosia had not been arrested, let alone questioned.

'I just want my Linda back'

She said, one day while in Mpumalanga, she received news from the investigating officer that the case had been moved from Alandale to Lenasia South police station.

"That’s when I started seeing some action. They managed to get a tracker record, and his cellphone records. That’s when he was nailed, four months later."

Mosia has since been arrested and charged with murder.

After interviews with police, he allegedly confessed that he had killed Linda 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.

"It tears me inside to think that the body is of my daughter. I cried a lot, to a point I don’t want to anymore. I just want my Linda back. This kills me. I don’t sleep at night. I just want closure on Linda," she said.

Sibuye is awaiting DNA results on the burnt body.

Mosia, appeared in the Lenasia South Regional Court on a bail application on Thursday last week.

He is believed to have been the last person to see Linda and has been charged with her murder, based on circumstantial evidence.

It is alleged that Linda was last seen with bruises on her leg and arm, and in an unconscious state in Mosia’s car.

While giving her ruling on Mosia’s bail application, Magistrate Maggie van de Merwe said it was only logical to believe that the accused was involved in Linda's murder.

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

She said it was also logical to believe that Linda was murdered. The case will be moved to a high court, Sibuye told News24.

It is not yet clear when this will be.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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