'We are broken': Family of murdered eThekwini Municipality intern wants justice

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Luyanda Cele, 24, was found dead in the Durban CBD on Saturday 18 March, 2023.
Luyanda Cele, 24, was found dead in the Durban CBD on Saturday 18 March, 2023.
PHOTO: Supplied
  • The family of Luyanda Cele, 24, has called on the police to make sure her killers are found.
  • Cele’s mutilated body was discovered in the eThekwini CBD, a day after she went missing.
  • The police say the motive for her killing is still unknown.

The family of the Luyanda Cele, 24, says her murder has caused an "unhealable wound" and called on the police to ensure justice is served.

Cele's mutilated body was discovered on Durban's South Beach near the Metro Lodge last Saturday.

The 24-year-old worked as an intern in the eThekwini Municipality's Occupational Health and Safety Unit and was last seen alive last Friday when she left work.

Cele had told her sisters she would come home late as she would be stopping for drinks after work.

A missing person's poster was later circulated on social media.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Constable Thenjiswa Ngcobo said they were investigating Cele's murder after her body was found lying between two buildings in Pixley KaSeme Street last Saturday.

"The motive for the killing is unknown," added Ngcobo.

'We are broken'

"We are broken. We had never imagined that she would be taken from us like that," Cele's sister, Lungi Cele, told News24.

She said:

She was still young, excited about her new job and had big dreams for herself and our family.

Lungi added her sister was survived by her mother, brother and another sister as well as several aunts.

She said the family was "utterly devastated".

Cele one of many victims of crime

Violent crime and murder continue to be a nightmare for many citizens in the country.

In KwaZulu-Natal alone, 2 252 suspects were arrested for crimes ranging from murder and attempted murder, and robberies to sexual assault from 13 to 20 March 2023.

"Of the arrested suspects, 757 were nabbed for contact crimes. Forty-seven were put behind bars in connection with cases of murder," said police spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda.

READ | Bheki Cele blames increasing population for spike in crime

"On cases perpetrated against women and children, sixty-four suspects were arrested for rape and forty-nine were also arrested as a result of transgressing the Domestic Violence Act."

When asked for a detailed list of cases reported, specifically data on sexual assault and murder, Netshiunda said this would be made available during Police Minister Bheki Cele's quarterly crime statistics update.

'No deterrent for perpetrators'

Lee-Anne Germanos from the Embrace Project, an NPO focused on combating gender-based violence, said Luyanda Cele's murder was "yet another reminder of how dangerous South Africa is for women".

She told News24 "the country's major problem is the struggle in implementing its good policies and legislation".

"We've also seen incidents of victims being abused by those who are supposed to help them.

"There have been cases of police officers abusing victims. On Friday [24 March], the Public Service Commission confirmed police officers account for more than 60% of suspended officials in public service due to possible involvement in criminality."

Germanos said South Africa had seen "many campaigns against gender-based violence" over the years, however, society was beginning to become fatigued as "some perpetrators of rape and murder got off scot-free due to poor investigations and a broken system".

Cele is expected to be buried in Umlazi, Durban, on 1 April.

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