Who murdered Nomcebo Zulu?

2019-12-09 15:00
Nhlakanipho Sokhela stands near the plantation where his younger sister’s body was found a month after she had gone missing.

Nhlakanipho Sokhela stands near the plantation where his younger sister’s body was found a month after she had gone missing. (Moeketsi Mamane)

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Who killed Nomcebo Zulu? The family of the Emaswazini teenager, who was found dead at a forest near her home in August, are still in the dark about what happened.

Speaking to The Witness, Nhlakanipho Sokhela, Nomcebo’s older brother, said the family were desperate to know what happened to Nomcebo (19), a Grade 12 pupil at Kuhlekonke High, as they have not even been given his sister’s postmortem results or a case number. They say the investigating officer has been “ghosting” them and attempts to get information from him have been unsuccessful.

Recalling his sister’s gruesome death, Sokhela said her decomposed body was found lying in the forest with her throat slit a month after she had gone missing.

Sokhela said he believes that Nomcebo was kidnapped at their home by someone known to her and the family on the night of August 3.

He said the family had planned to go to an overnight church service but Nomcebo, whom he respectfully refers to as uSisi [sister], changed her mind and decided not to go at the last minute. He said she didn’t give a reason as to why she didn’t want to go anymore.

“Her twin sister, Nocebo, was busy texting uSisi during the night. At around 11 pm uSisi told her sister that she was going to bed. When Nocebo tried calling her later, she wasn’t answering her phone, so she thought she had fallen asleep.”

Sokhela said when the family came back from church at 4 am and knocked on the door, they realised that she was not at home.

“There were no signs of any forced entry. They all waited outside thinking that uSisi would walk into the yard at any moment, but she never came. A child that was playing in the yard found the house keys hidden under the wheelbarrow and that was strange because that is not where we usually hide the keys when no one is at home,” he said.

At first, Sokhela said they had initially thought that Nomcebo had run off with a boy and would return home soon as their aunt had seen her walking with a boy on the street a few days before she disappeared.

Nomcebo Zulu (19). 

After looking for her and asking around, they opened a missing persons case at Taylor’s Halt police station on August 10. “After opening the case we never heard from the police, we didn’t even get a case number,” he said.

“On August 15, her twin sister came back from school and found that uSisi had sent her a please call me. When she tried calling her back, her phone went straight to voicemail.”

The family kept calling Nomcebo’s phone until they received the devastating news of her death from hunters who knew Nomcebo and the family. Her body was found in a forest about three kilometres from her home.

Sokhela said Nomcebo’s twin sister was called by the hunters who had found Nomcebo’s body on September 14 to come identify her. “When identifying the body, Nocebo didn’t even have to get close. From a distance she saw her toes and her jersey and just knew it was her. Even though she didn’t get close enough to get a good look at her twin sister, that day still haunts her,” said Sokhela.

“It’s been very tough for everyone at home. At first, I tried to be strong for my family, but I also broke down eventually and we’re all struggling to cope. There are times where we all won’t be talking at home, not because we’re angry at one another, but because we’re all still hurt and traumatised by how uSisi died.”

“We just want to know what happened to uSisi. We know that won’t bring her back, but it will help us find closure. It would also give us comfort to know that the police are actually working on the case, even if no one is arrested,” said Sokhela.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said it was the family’s right to get feedback on the case.

“The investigating officer has an obligation to give feedback to the family. Since they are not getting any help, they should report him to the branch manager, Captain Buthelezi. If they are still not getting help, they can contact me personally and I will make sure that they get the assistance they need,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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