A group of children made a chilling discovery during a walk on Friday – a body floating in a dam behind Bloemfontein's Twin City Mall in Heidedal.
Police spokesperson Constable Peter Kareli said the body was so badly decomposed, it was difficult to tell whether it was a man or woman.
"Even the lower body was not recognisable. Even with the clothes on, we could not discover whether it was a male or female," he said.
The body was clothed in black trousers and a black track top, and there were black sneakers on the feet.
Kareli said it looked like something in the water had eaten some body parts.
"It is not known what the cause of death is and all will be confirmed by the pathologists who will conduct the post mortem," Kareli added.
He said police had opened an inquest docket and urged anyone who had information which could assist the investigation to contact Heidedal police.