Former Pirates player Chenene speaks out on missing sister's ordeal

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Former soccer star Bennett Chenene is shattered by her missing sister's ordeal. Photo by Tumelo Mofokeng
Former soccer star Bennett Chenene is shattered by her missing sister's ordeal. Photo by Tumelo Mofokeng

The mood was solemn at Lakeside Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg, when the Chenene family received a tipoff from the police about the discovery of a woman's body in the area on Sunday.

This comes after three months since Bennett Chenene, former Orlando Pirates player, took to social media about his missing younger sister Nomvula Chenene, 28, a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, in December 2022.

It is believed that Nomvula was last seen going “out” with her friend, who fetched her at her home on December 29. She never returned home.

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On Sunday, Bennett took City Press back to that fateful day when he last saw his sister alive.

He said: 

I was on my way to church when I last saw her. Later when I came back, my mother told me that Nomvula had not returned home. I went to find information from her friends who went to VMC (Vaal Monateng Café) with her, and they said they all went to their mutual friend’s place to ‘squad’ there but Nomvula insisted on going home because her mother would worry about her.

This information was worrying to Bennett, who said his sister was obedient and responsible.

“I started posting on Facebook with hopes of anyone who might have seen Nomvula would come through and help us. I spoke to all public publication platforms I could reach, and I even offered a R10 000 reward to anyone who might help us find my little sister,” he added.

After the long and painful wait for the family, they got information that might give them closure.

“Yesterday (Saturday), I got a call after three months of opening a case from a constable, Sikhosana, at around 11pm to say the Sharpville Police Station received a tipoff from a lady who is believed to be the girlfriend of the suspect,” said Bennett.

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The woman claimed a foreign national was seen burying something suspicious inside his shack and he later hired someone to apply concrete all around the shack. She saw a human skull, and that’s when she alerted the police.

Bennett said: “We’ve been here since 7am waiting for the forensic to come and do their job so that we can identify if it’s my sister or not. This has put a lot of strain on my mother’s health. She cannot even come to terms with the fact that her daughter might have been buried like a dog, just a few blocks from her home.”

After taking a deep sigh, he continued with a cracking voice: 

I saw a gold tooth, and I knew it was her. The lifeless body matches her description and the clothes she was wearing that day. What did my sister do to be murdered like this? I don’t understand who would do this and what would they gain from bringing so much tragedy to my family. This will kill my mother. She has been crying since yesterday when we got the call so breaking this news might lead to a heart attack.

Sedibeng police spokesperson Captain Fikile Funda said they were busy with the investigation “up until we got a witness who got us where we are today”.

“We found a body buried in a shack in Orange Farm. Preliminary investigation is putting the suspect that is in custody in the place of crime. A case of murder is opened for now and we might add other charges as the investigation goes on. We are waiting for the postmortem results and the victim identification unit to give us results on the matching of both the deceased and a family member. The results will direct us on what to do next.”

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