Johannesburg - A man accused of murdering and mutilating a North West woman at the weekend appeared in the Swartruggens Magistrate's Court on Friday, police said.

The case against Eduard Pretorius, 33, was postponed to February 7 for a formal bail application, Captain Pelonomi Makau said.

Pretorius was arrested on Wednesday.

The body of 25-year-old Maria Mathe was found near the Swartruggens shopping complex by a passerby on Sunday afternoon. Her abdomen had been cut open and her heart and lungs removed.

“Her face was smashed with a stone... Her breasts were cut off and her private parts slightly cut with an unknown sharp instrument,” Makau said at the time.

North West premier Thandi Modise on Thursday commended the police for the swift arrest.

“We should unite in action against crime and intensify efforts to rid our communities of the escalating incidents and combat the scourge of gender-based violence,” she said.

Sapa