‘My son chopped off his father’s head and private parts’

A distraught mother, Maria Malatsi, is still trying to come to terms with her husband's murder.
A distraught mother, Maria Malatsi, is still trying to come to terms with her husband's murder.
Judas Hlongwane

MARIA Malatsi (51), a mother of four from Mmakaunyana Village, north of Pretoria, is still reeling from shock as she believes that her son shot dead his father, chopped off his head and private parts with a knife and a saw, and put the body parts in the refrigerator. This evil deed has shocked villagers who now believe that Maria’s 31-year-old son, Solomon, was possessed by satanic demons that drove him to brutally murder his 55-year-old traditional healer father, Joseph Malatsi.


Maria cannot come to terms with the gruesome murder, which occurred in her house earlier this year. This is the day she finds hard to forget. She says her son killed and mutilated his father right under her nose. She explains that she was sitting outside the house chatting to her friend when this shocking incident happened. Maria says she didn't suspect anything when Solomon, who had just returned from his work as a brick-layer, politely greeted them and offered to buy them colddrink. “He was in a good mood and everything seemed okay. After bringing the drink to us, he joined his father in the house who had called him to play him some gospel music. They were chatting and there were no arguments. I could even hear them laughing and discussing music,” she adds.


Maria says after a few minutes, they heard a loud bang coming from the house. “I thought that maybe children who were playing nearby had thrown a big stone on top of our roof but my friend insisted that it was a gunshot,” she says. “I jumped and rushed to the house to check my son and husband.” Maria says her son prevented her from entering the house by blocking the door with a washing machine. “I asked him why he was refusing me entry into the house and he just calmly replied that there was nothing to worry about. I called for help from the neighbours who alerted the police. By the time they arrived, my son had already chopped off his father’s head and private parts,” she sobs. Maria says this evil deed did not only shock the villagers, but also the police. After a long conversation with the police, Maria's son opened the door and allowed them inside the house. What greeted them resembled a scene straight from a horror movie. Her son’s clothes were covered with blood, and her husband’s body was lying on the floor in their bedroom. “My son looked like someone who had just slaughtered a cow,” she says.


She says at first, she never thought that her son had killed his own father and thought her husband had committed suicide. “When I saw blood all over my son’s clothes, it didn’t cross my mind that he could be the one who murdered him. I thought he tried to stop him from killing himself,” she says. “I nearly fainted when the police checked the body and discovered that the head and private parts were missing. I could not even look at my husband’s dismembered body. I thought I was having a terrible dream, everything seemed so unreal,” she explains. Maria says police found the head with the bullet wound on the forehead and private parts in a plastic bag inside the fridge in the dining room. They also found a knife and a saw hidden inside the wardrobe. The licenced gun, which belonged to her dead husband, was found hidden in the drawer in the kitchen unit. “I tried to convince myself that it was just a dream and that I would soon wake up,” she says in disbelief. But reality hit home when her son was arrested and charged with murder. “I cried and wanted to die. Before the police could take him away, I asked him: ‘Abuti, why did you kill papa’? He just answered by saying ‘I do not know,’” she sobs. Maria says what drove her son to commit such a horrific crime is still a mystery to her because before the incident he was not a violent person and does not have any mental illness that she knows of. “He was just a handyman who was popular with people,” she says.

FATHER AND SON GOT ALONG                     

Even today, Maria is still trying to figure out what really triggered her son to kill his father in such a horrible manner. “My son and husband had a good relationship and never had arguments. He was his favourite son because he is our first child and the bond they shared was amazing. I still cannot believe that my own blood has made me a widow, robbed me of my soul mate, my friend, my provider and my confidante. What pains me the most is that my husband was sick and could not even defend himself against his own son,” she sobs. Maria says since that terrible incident, she is unable to sleep at night. “I ask myself so many questions such as, 'Where did I go wrong as a parent? Did I raise my son to be a monster?'," she says. She cannot even bring herself to face her son. “I cannot even go to his court appearances. I last saw him the day he was arrested,” she says. Maria's three other children went for counselling, but it will take them a long time to forget the events of that fateful day. “At this moment, I do not know how I feel about my son. I cannot say I have forgiven him,” she says. Maria adds that even though some villagers still gossip about the incident and refer to her house as a “house of horror”, the support she gets from other community members is comforting. “There are people who bring prayers to comfort me and ease my pain,” she states. Sergeant Thembi Nowathe, from the Dube Police Station in Winterveldt, confirms the incident. She says that Solomon was charged with murder. According to the police, Solomon appeared in the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to the charge. His case was postponed to 7 August for post-mortem results.