Nearly three months after an 18-month-old girl disappeared from her home while her mother was serving in the SANDF in Sudan, the family still have no answers as to what could have happened to the toddler.
Despite a murder charge against the partner of the girl’s mother, neither the body nor any remains of Ronewa Matshinyatsimbi have been found.
Ronewa went missing from her home early on New Year’s Eve while her mother’s partner and two other children slept in other rooms of the family home at the Dunnottar Military Base in Nigel.
At the time, Neo Nkoane was serving in Sudan on a six-month deployment. Her partner Themba Masinge was looking after Ronewa, her brother, and his own son.
Masinge was arrested days later as police picked up discrepancies in his allegations that Ronewa was kidnapped by a woman posing as a nanny. He claimed the woman called, saying she had heard he was looking for a nanny and he allowed her to sleep with the toddler on the night she arrived.
His next appearance in the Nigel Regional Court will be on Thursday, a date the family hope will provide some answers.
According to Ronewa’s uncle and Nkoane’s brother, Tumi Nkoane, they are hoping forensic evidence will help to solve the little girl’s disappearance.
“So far the investigation has revealed that Masinge’s story about the nanny does not add up. He claimed he left the base at 7pm and came back at 8pm from picking up the so-called nanny, but a guard on duty says he only arrived back the next morning.”
Tumi said more evidence had come to light, including Ronewa’s bloodied blanket as well as a spade with bloodstains on it.
“A woman who lives on the base has also come forward claiming that she saw dark thick smoke coming from the house in early January.
“When she went to investigate, Masinge came to the front gate and told her everything was fine and that he was just burning some stuff,” Tumi said.
According to Tumi, Neo has since been deployed to Kroonstad so that she can be available should police need her, or in case new information comes to light about her daughter’s disappearance.
“She is taking it very hard. She doesn’t know what happened to her child and that eats away at her. It’s very difficult for her.
“We just want some clarity on the matter and hope he (the accused) will be more forthcoming,” Tumi said.
He compared the case to that of Francis Rasuge, the young policewoman from Hammanskraal who went missing. Her former lover was convicted of her murder, but her remains were only found under the floor of his house almost a decade later.
Tumi, who approached newspapers immediately after the disappearance of his niece with her pictures hoping someone might have seen the child, said he was certain forensic evidence would prove vital and assist greatly in concluding what had happened to Ronewa.