Lerato Mabunda’s family has been left devastated by the discovery of her body at Rooiwal River on Friday afternoon. The 23-year-old from Hammanskraal, Tshwane, was last seen leaving home with her baby daddy last Friday.
Members of Lerato’s family said they were shocked when her ex-boyfriend Rofhiwa Tshivhase arrived at their house to see Lerato as she got a protection order against him four months ago.
Lerato’s sister Tebogo said they realized something was wrong when Rofhiwa came back later asking to see Lerato again. He claimed he had left her at a grocery store after realizing she had many boyfriends.
“We tried to call her phone but it was off. We decided to wait a bit before reporting her missing,” she said.
The following day, Lerato’s friend told the family Lerato had phoned her asking for the number of the nearest police station but her phone suddenly went off.
“Rofhiwa kept coming to our house asking for her. We told the police about him but they did not arrest him,” she said.
Lerato’s aunt Sarah said residents came in numbers to help the family confront Rofhiwa and take him to the police. She said he was taken into custody on Tuesday but released the next day.
“Lerato had a protection order against him and he was the last person to be seen with her. This should have been enough evidence to charge him but the police didn’t,” she said.
Lerato’s cousin Nyathikazi said on Thursday, everyone was shocked to hear Rofhiwa had killed himself. The next day, Lerato’s body was discovered at the river.
“Had the police done their job properly, Lerato would have been found sooner and Rofhiwa would be alive to answer for his crimes,” he said.
Nyathikazi said the family had hope Lerato would be found alive until they hear about the suicide.
“Now we might never know what really happened to her,” he said.
Police spokesman Captain Mavela Masondo said the investigation and search for a woman that was reported missing led the police to mortuary where her body was discovered and identified by the family member.
He said the police conducted the investigation and search that led them to Pretoria North where the body of an unknown woman was found in the bush and taken to government mortuary.
“The family identified the body as that of a woman they reported missing. The deceased sustained injuries on the head,” he said. He said the ex-boyfriend was later found hanging inside his room at Marokolong in Temba.