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By Getrude Makhafola

Premium Journalist

‘Hardworking and dedicated’ – Women judges pay tribute to slain Free State magistrate

The SAC-IAWJ condemned the increasing incidents of gender-based violence against women and girls.

Magistrate and Acting Judge Mamello Thamae, whose body was found in her husband’s vehicle boot in Lesotho, was a committed professional, said the SA Chapter of the International Association of Women Judges (SAC-IAWJ).

Thamae’s 40-year-old husband was arrested by neighbouring Lesotho police after he was found at a lodge with her lifeless body in the boot.

The two had been reported missing from their Heilbron home since Thursday.

ALSO READ: SA magistrate’s body found in car boot in Lesotho; husband arrested

The incident has sent shockwaves across the judiciary, with the SAC-IAWJ condemning the country’s unrelenting scourge of gender-based violence.

‘Sterling work’

The organisation said Thamae’s work was outstanding.

“She was a hardworking, dedicated, passionate and distinguished member of the judiciary committed to her professional duties as a regional magistrate and acting judge.

“She had a sterling disposition,” SAC-IAWJ said in a statement.

The organisation added that gender-based violence continued to increase, calling for more action.

“South Africa continues to be one of the most violent countries in the world regarding women and girls’ safety and protection.

“We strongly disapprove of such activities and call upon the police to conduct a swift and thorough investigation into Magistrate and Acting Judge Thamae’s untimely death.”

Murder, kidnapping charges

Thamae’s husband Lehlohonolo Maketoane, was arrested after the vehicle was traced to a guesthouse in Mokgotlong, Lesotho.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Police launch manhunt after five killed at KZN shopping centre

Police in Heilbron, Free State had launched a manhunt for Thamae and her husband after they were reported missing.

According to spokesperson Captain Lorraine Earle, their car left their homestead early on Thursday.

“The cellphone and clothes of her husband, Lehlohonolo Maketoane, appeared to be missing. Her clothes and cellphone were still at home,” she said in a statement issued on Friday.

Police believed that the vehicle drove through the Ficksburg port of entry into Lesotho.

Maketoane awaits extradition to face charges of suspected kidnapping and murder in the Free State.

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