These were all that was left of a rotting corpse which didn’t even have skin on it when Sebokeng residents stumbled upon it between two large trees in the veld while measuring stands for occupation two weeks ago.
The remains are yet to be identified but it is believed that they had been lying there for months.
Horrified at the sight, the residents sprung into action and ran to the house of a police officer who lives nearby.
Once alerted, the cop notified his colleagues, who quickly arrived at the scene.
Bongani Moni, one of the residents who was part of the group that discovered the remains, said he was traumatised at the find and that he had never seen anything like that before.
“I can’t sleep at night after seeing the skeleton. Something must be done with that area as it is dangerous and a lot of people are being mugged,” he told The Star.
Moni added that all the trees in the veld must be cut because if it wasn’t for the trees, the body would have been discovered a lot earlier.
Although the identity of the corpse was unknown, a fellow resident believes that the remains were those of a 23-year-old man named Thabo who lived in Zone 11.
Residents insisted that it was the young man because they recognised the clothes he was wearing. Judah Hlongwane, who was very close to the supposed dead man, said his friend was last seen in January last year.
“The last time I saw Thabo he asked me for money so that he could buy bread,” said Hlongwane.
“I gave him the money and that was the last time I saw him.”
Hlongwane said Thabo was living in an abandoned house but later moved to a deserted area filled with tall trees.
Other residents described Thabo as having a good heart and that he earned a living offering his services as a gardener.
“He was very small framed, humble and hard-working as he would often come to my house and ask for water,” Tommy Kuma said.
Kuma said he also believed that the remains were those of Thabo as he used to live near the site where the remains were found.
Kuma told The Star that he would often ask Thabo where he was living before he became homeless and he would say to him that he lived in Zone 11.
“That was the only thing he would ever say to me because he didn’t tell me why he left home,” he said.
The Star visited Thabo’s family home and, upon arrival, a confused and distraught woman, believed to be his mother, answered the door.
She said she was still waiting for the DNA results to verify if the corpse was indeed her son.
The elderly woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said she was still shocked following the discovery of the remains as it could mean that her child, who she last saw last January, could in fact be dead.
“My husband was the one who went to identify the skeleton and spoke to the police officers,” she explained.
“My son used to smoke glue a lot. He was a quiet person and we would often argue about him smoking glue.”
She added that she contacted the police after hearing about the discovery as she feared it could be Thabo.
Police spokesperson Captain Teboho Lephoto said an inquest docket had been opened.
“Community members were able to identify the deceased through the clothes and blankets that were found around the skeleton”.
Lephoto said the skeleton had been taken for further testing and they were still awaiting the pathology report.