Zim family’s pain as they can’t bury victim of SA serial killer

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The brother of one of the victims of the alleged Limpopo serial killer is frustrated and struggling to survive in South Africa since leaving his country to retrieve the body of his sister allegedly killed by the man.

Zimbabwean national Takana Chigoyi said he was frustrated by the delay in the release of DNA tests of his sister Chisimango Gumbo, who, together with six other women, were killed between August and October 2021 by alleged serial killer, Themba Prince Willard Dube.

Their bodies could not be released for burial until the conclusion of the DNA tests by the police’s forensic department.

Speaking to News24 ahead of yet another appearance of Dube at the Seshego Magistrate Court on Thursday, Chigoyi said:

“I’m not in SA for work. I came here in the first week of December to fetch the body of my sister for burial at home (Zimbabwe).

“I’m amazed about the delay of the DNA test and every time we ask, we don’t get answers. I’m now struggling in SA and I didn’t even go home for the December holidays hoping the results will be released.

“It’s almost the end of January and nothing is happening.”

The case had again put the spotlight on the huge backlog faced by the SAPS forensic department. The backlog was estimated to involve 230 000 cases nationally.

However, national police ministry spokesperson Liranzhu Themba hesitated to reveal the numbers.

“We’ve put together a turnaround strategy. There’s a backlog. That’s a fact. We’ll be making an all-inclusive announcement in the coming few days,” Themba said.

However, Themba could not comment on this specific case.

She also referred enquiries to police provincial spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo on how the DNA testing of the 17 victims burnt beyond recognition in a horrific accident in Limpopo earlier this month was speeded up.

The bodies of the 17 victims were released to the families in a sombre occasion at Mokopane Hospital last week.

Mojapelo did not respond to enquiries by the time of going to press.

The alleged Limpopo serial killer was expected to appear again in court on Thursday to face seven charges of kidnapping and seven of murder.

He stands accused of murdering Gumbo, Sarah Mothiba, Molebogeng Mothibeli, Andrea Cholo, Jane Letswalo, Eva Khomotso Makhura and Mpho Sanah Sinyatsi between August and October 2021.

His modus operandi involved luring vulnerable women with a promise of employment.

At his previous appearance, he indicated to magistrate Cecilia Harris  that he would conduct his own defence.