- Sisters, Emihle Singqotho, 15, and Anakho Singqotho, 11, were allegedly raped before their throats were slit and faces stabbed multiple times.
- The police have launched a manhunt for a "compassionate" herdsman working for a family of the girls.
- The herdsman was last seen with the minors earlier on the day of the crime, after he offered to take them to a nearby shop to buy the girls chips and sweets to celebrate Emihle's birthday.
The bodies of two young sisters have been discovered in the bushes of a small village outside Peddie in the Eastern Cape.
Police sources closer to the investigation said the sisters, Emihle Singqotho, 15, and Anakho Singqotho, 11, were allegedly raped before their throats were slit and faces stabbed multiple times.
An impeccable police source said a man who is close to the family of the two girls, was the main suspect.
He is currently at large.
The girls' aunt Phumla Mtsolo, told News24 on Thursday that the suspect was a "compassionate and trusted" herdsman employed by her relative.
"He was a herder of sheep for a family which one [of] our sisters is married to. The children were familiar with him and he was trusted by the whole community and known to be a compassionate person by the entire community. We are all shocked. We keep hearing reports of him being spotted around Peddie."
The herdsman was last seen with the girls earlier on Tuesday, the day of the crime, when he offered to take them to a nearby shop to buy them chips and sweets to celebrate Emihle's birthday.
They never returned and when he later posted chilling updates on Facebook, confessing to the crime, it confirmed the fears of the worried family.
"The community launched a search immediately on that day, focusing on the bushes. As they were about to call off the search for the day at 21:00, a barking dog led the search party to the bodies. They were buried inside a cluster of bushes," said the police source.
Their bodies were found in Bhingqala at about 21:00 on Tuesday, Eastern Cape police spokesperson Sibongile Soci said, adding that two cases of murder had been opened by the Peddie SAPS.
"The circumstances surrounding the murders and the motive for the murders form part of the investigation. No arrest/s has/ve been made as yet and police are following up on strong leads," said Soci.
Social Development MEC Siphokazi Mani-Lusithi said she had learnt about the brutal murders of two young girls.
She said it was tragic that it had happened while the province was intensifying its efforts to fight gender-based violence.
"We would like to send our sincere condolences to the family of the deceased, and as a department that are custodians of children, this is even difficult to tolerate. We call on communities to protect children and not harm them, and in light of this we would like to call on the law enforcement agencies to do everything possible to bring the perpetrator to book immediately," Mani-Lusithi said.
She revealed that social workers had visited the family and that a psychologist would be provided for psycho-social support and counselling sessions.
Mtsolo said the girls' 46-year-old mother, Nikelwa Singqotho, was too distraught to talk to the media.
Mani-Lusithi added that the department had also already mobilised its social partners to assist the family with the funeral arrangements.
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