Another young mother has been murdered and possibly raped, this time in Khayelitsha.
Twenty-one-year-old Zanele Sandlana’s body was found among rubbish in an open field in TR Section, Lingelethu West, face down, her clothes removed except for a bra and a shoe.
A bottle was stuffed in her mouth.
Her daughter, aged two, is now an orphan. The father died last year.
Her mother, Nomawethu Sandlana, last saw her on Saturday morning when she left their Kuyasa home in Khayelitsha to go to a party at a friend’s home in Site B.
When the family had not heard from her and when she had not come home on Sunday, they opened a missing person’s case with police on Monday morning.
The family was informed by Zanele’s friends that she had left the party early on Sunday.
Police called the mother on Monday night, informing her that a body had been found, fitting the description of her missing daughter.
Sandlana identified Zanele’s body at Tygerberg Hospital on Tuesday. Zanele’s sister Amanda said parts of her body had been burnt.
Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said a murder case was being investigated.
She said a 28-year-old man, who police took in for questioning, was released due to lack of evidence.
Rwexana said no arrests had been made.
“The case is in the sensitive stages of investigation, therefore this office is not able to divulge more information on an ongoing investigation,” she said.
Amanda believes her sister was raped and strangled.
Zanele’s friend of 10 years, Zahania Tiya, who was with her at the party, told the Cape Times she last saw Zanele before 4am as her friend was leaving the party.
Tiya said she received a text message from Zanele’s mother on Monday morning asking where her daughter was but she did not know.
“All this time I had always thought she had left to go to her home,” said Tiya.
Zanele’s bag, with her personal belongings inside, was still at the party.
“I spent Monday calling most of our friends trying to locate where she was but with no luck,” she said.
Tiya said Zanele’s mother told her she had dreamt of Zanele lying in an open field, strangled, and that is when she became worried.
“She was my light, the best of friends and it’s like I have lost a part of me. It kills me to hear the way she died. I really want justice to be served for my friend.
“She was someone who liked laughing. I feel like I should not have allowed her to leave,” said Tiya.
Harare Community Policing Forum chairperson Ronnie Busakwe urged community members to assist the police in their investigation.
“If people allow the killer to roam the street, this means he will kill again and next it could be your family members. The law must take its course and leave no stone unturned until the suspect is behind bars,” said Busakwe.