21-year-old Novice Mathebula, who was initially arrested for allegedly kidnapping a 16-year-old girl at a local tavern at Mavalani village outside Giyani, Limpopo, on Christmas Day, will now face a charge of murder.
This after the body that was found dumped in the Nsami River on Tuesday 29 December 2020, was positively identified by the family on Thursday, police spokesperson, Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said.
Mojapelo said: “The child was reported missing on Tuesday 29 December 2020. Preliminary police investigations revealed that the deceased, identified as Matimu Xolani Timbane, was last seen in the company of the suspect on 25 December 2020 under the circumstances that bordered on kidnapping.
“A search operation for both the suspect and the 16 year old girl commenced. The suspect was then traced by the police and arrested in Johannesburg on 5 January. He appeared in Giyani Magistrate Court on Thursday facing a charge of kidnapping and the case was remanded to 13 January for further police investigations.
“After the family positively identified the deceased, the accused will now face an additional charge of murder when he again appears in court on 13 January. Investigations into how the victim was murdered are unfolding.”
Mojapelo added that the suspect could face additional charges as police investigations are ongoing.
Limpopo police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba has commended the investigating team for arresting the suspect.
“This arrest attests to our resolve as members of the SAPS that there will be no limits when hunting down perpetrators of heinous crimes such as this one.
“I must however urge our communities, especially parents and guardians to speedily report missing persons to the police and not wait for some days before doing so,” Ledwaba said.
Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu