Struck dumb with terror when a man stormed into her house, a Durban grandmother was unable to shout for help as the man abducted her nine-year-old grandchild on Friday night.
The body of Nompumelelo Jeza, a Grade 4 pupil at Sewusa Primary School at Emangweni, near KwaMakhutha, was found close by on Saturday.
Recalling her nightmare, Nano Jeza, 71, said she woke up in the middle of the night to find a man on top of Nompumelelo.
“He must have entered through a window. When I opened my eyes, I saw a huge figure on top of my grandchild. I tried to scream, but my voice would not come out; I just became powerless.
“When I finally got the strength to call for help, he had tied a cloth over her mouth and dragged her out of the room.”
Jeza said the man, known only as “Gorilla”, had left his shirt and a cap in her room, which were later used to identify him.
Nompumelelo’s relative, Xolisile Mkhize, said after Jeza raised the alarm, the community was up the entire night looking for Nompumelelo and the man.
“The search started around midnight. At that time we alerted the police and continued looking for the man. We had his clothing and we went around waking people up and asking about him.”
Mkhize said the police arrived several hours later and, without participating in the search, returned to their police station. They called her later to give her a case number.
“With the help of a security guard in the area, we went to the eManzimtoti police station, where we were told to go back to KwaMakhutha police station.”
Mkhize said she called the police again after residents caught the suspect, and was told that the station’s van had been involved in an accident and could not be used.
“A few men in the area spoke to the man and begged him to tell them where Nompumelelo was. After he pointed her out, we found her body face down and with her underwear off.”
Mkhize said she again called the police, but by the time they arrived the man had been beaten to death.
“I tried everything in my power to give them information as things were happening, but they failed to show up,” she said.
Police Brigadier Phindile Radebe said police appreciated the help of the community in tracking down Nompumelelo’s alleged attacker, but condemned the beating which led to his death, saying it was unlawful for the community to take the law into their own hands.
Two murder cases have been opened in connection with the incident.
She said the police officers’ tardy response would be investigated. “If there was any fault on the officers’ side, action will be taken,” she said. - The Mercury