Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini and other ANCWL members visited Karabo Mokoena’s home with food parcels for the family in Diepkloof, Soweto on Monday. Picture: Matthews Baloyi
Johannesburg – The family of murder accused Sandile Mantsoe have spoken out about their failed attempts to extend an olive branch to the Mokoena family since the highly publicised death of Karabo Mokoena.

The 22-year-old’s body was found last week, burnt beyond recognition after having been reported missing several weeks before.

While her death triggered public outrage, Mantsoe’s suspected identity as the killer began circulating on social media last week.

Florence Khumalo, Mantsoe’s mother, on Monday spoke to The Star regarding a letter that was sent to the Mokoena family after news broke of the discovery of Karabo’s charred corpse over a week ago. Khumalo, who was still shaken by the incident, said the Mokoena family’s anger was understandable as this was a horrific incident.

“We are hurt as a family and we can only imagine the pain that they are going through. If we could have we would have delivered the apology in person, but we understand that they are still raw from the pain they are feeling, so we decided to write them a letter.”

Khumalo explained said she understood why the Mokoena family were upset with the manner in which the letter was delivered. It was sent over the weekend through a messenger who could not find anyone at Karabo’s home.

“We enquired with the lawyer who was facilitating the delivery of the letter, and he said the messenger slid it under the door.

"That was not respectful, and we acknowledge that. But we then decided to write another letter, in which we apologised. The messenger found Karabo’s father, who was incensed and refused to acknowledge it. The family said they would take it to the police."

The letter states: “We are deeply hurt and equally shocked by the sad news of Karabo’s passing. It is more painful to hear that her brutal death is attached to our son. As parents, we cannot even begin to understand the pain this has caused you, as Karabo’s family, and we wish to send our deepest condolences. Gender-based violence is a serious matter in this country, and until the news of Karabo’s death, we did not think it could be associated so close to home.

"We want to believe that we did all we could to raise our children to be respectful and good citizens of our country.

“We want to particularly let the family, South Africa and especially women know that we don’t condone any form of violence.

"You and the country at large are hurting, you are are angry and we acknowledge the anger. We do not have the answers to what happened but we do sympathise with your family for your loss.”

The letter explains that the culture of ubuntu dictates that they visit the bereaved family to extend an olive branch, “but we do not know how our visit will be received.

“So at this point we deemed it fit that we write a letter to convey our deepest condolences.

“As a family we sincerely pray for a speedy conclusion of all the processes to follow, because Karabo was also our own, she came to us, we knew her and we loved her.”

Asked what their reaction was pertaining to the allegations made about the family allegedly having a hand in cleaning up the murder scene, Khumalo said she could not talk about it as it was still a matter under police investigation.

Karabo’s uncle, Tshepo Mo- koena, told The Star on Monday that he had no knowledge of the letter from Mantsoe’s family.

On Monday, the Mokoenas were visited by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, while MEC for Social Development Nandi Mayathula-Khoza expressed her condolences.

Meanwhile, Mantsoe’s bail application is set to proceed on May 24.

The Star