The family of slain first-year UCT student Mhleli Cebo Mbatha says he had warned his female relatives to be careful after attending the funeral of fellow student Uyinene Mrwetyana, three weeks before he was stabbed to death at Clifton Beach.
“He went to Uyinene’s funeral in the Eastern Cape, not knowing he would be next,” his aunt Sbongile Nxumalo told News24 on Monday, referring to the 19-year-old who was murdered at Clareinch post office in Claremont a few weeks ago. She was also a UCT student.
“He was telling us how painful it [her death] was. The last conversation he had with his sisters, he was telling them to be aware of thugs, and that they must be very cautious.”
Nxumalo spoke on behalf of the family, as Mbatha’s devastated mom Nomusa told News24 that she was not in a state to speak.
Mbatha, who was studying law, was stabbed in the chest during an apparent robbery at Clifton Third Beach in Cape Town on Saturday night.
He would have turned 19 next month.
His friend was stabbed in the leg and taken to hospital, while two female students who were with them escaped physical injury.
Nxumalo said they were told that people had wanted to take their cellphones.
No arrests had yet been made, Western Cape police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut said on Monday.
“He was a very good boy, a very humble person,” an emotional Nxumalo said.
“You would always find him laughing and making jokes. When you were around him, you would feel his warmth.”
She said they were disappointed and angry.
“It’s not right. How can we live like this in our own country? [To take] the life of a young child? It’s bad.”
While arresting someone would not bring Mbatha back, they still hoped for justice.
A date for the funeral has not yet been set.
UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said the three surviving students were experiencing “severe shock and trauma from this terrible ordeal”.
They were receiving counselling support, along with students who were close friends.
The institution extended its condolences to his family and wished the injured student a speedy recovery.
It is understood that there were no plans at this stage for a university memorial.
Moholola said UCT was highly distraught that its students, and citizens in general, continued to be affected by violent crimes, and that it remained a scourge that needed to be confronted and eliminated from society.
HeraldLive reported that the stabbing took place on the steps heading down to the beach, quoting a security guard.
Ward councillor Nicola Jowell shared on her Facebook page that the incident had taken place in the parking area.
“The two men put up a fight and were stabbed by their robbers. It is a tragic end and one that needs swift action by SAPS for arrests and also preventative measures to ensure that an incident like this never occurs again,” she said.
“SAPS remain the primary agency mandated to deal with safety and security issues but increasingly the city’s [sic] is trying to deploy resources to make up for the shortfalls.”