Mzoli's new cross to bear


By Zama feni, Leila Samodien and Murray Williams

A Cape Town restaurateur returned to False Bay's treacherous coastline on Wednesday as a broken man, in search of his dead son.

On Wednesday morning police resumed their air and sea search for the body of Unathi Ngcawuzele, 26, whose presumed drowning at Strandfontein beach has left Mzoli Ngcawuzele and his family shattered.

And the tragedy comes on the heels of the kidnap of his daughter last month.

"It is hard, it is a very hard time for me," the distraught father - who is the owner of the popular Gugs restaurant Mzoli's Place - said as he watched rescuers search for his son's body.

Relatives, friends and onlookers gathered on the beach with Ngcawuzele on Wednesday and watched boats, divers and a police helicopter comb the surf line.

Also present was a former city councillor and current chairperson of the Gugulethu Community Police Forum, Danile Landingwe.

"This is very sad for us as a family," said Landingwe, who is related to Ngcawuzele.

The MEC for Safety and Security, Leonard Ramatlakane, also arrived at the scene shortly before noon today to offer his support.

Unathi's younger brother Mandisi, who was at first incorrectly identified as the missing son, was not at the beach on Wednesday.

On Tuesday night, standing on the beach after flying back from Port Elizabeth, Ngcawuzele said: "There's not much I would like to say until such time as they find him.

"This is a very tough time for me and the family. But police divers have given me their as-surance that they would work around the clock to find him."

His twin brother, Mthobi, watching helplessly at Strandfontein as the divers went about their grim task, said: "We are still trying to come to terms with this tragedy."

The drowning is the second traumatic event to hit his family in just a few weeks.

Three weeks ago, the family was subjected to a kidnapping ordeal when Ngcawuzele's 19-year-old daughter Sisanda was abducted.

Soon after that, Ngcawuzele got a call from someone demanding a R300 000 ransom.

After three gruelling days, the drama ended when police found Sisanda blindfolded and tied to a chair in Table View house. Four suspects were arrested.

The family travelled to Port Elizabeth together to recover from their ordeal, until Ngcawuzele got a call from a church minister on Tuesday informing him about his missing son.

A relative said: "I cannot (express) this cloud of death hovering over this family, I have run out of words.

"A few weeks ago, we cried at the kidnapping of Sisanda, then rejoiced after police found her, and now we are losing our son this way. He might be dead now. I have lost hope that they would find him alive."

Unathi Ngca-wuzele was described by family members as "a very disciplined man" who had been a big help to his father in the running of his business.

Police spokesperson Billy Jones said Unathi had set off early on Tuesday with family and friends. He had gone for a swim, but disappeared in the surf shortly before 8am.

There were no lifesavers on duty at the time.

Lifesaving spokesperson Beryl Fortuin explained that professional lifeguards worked from 10am until 6pm.

A member of the Bambanani volunteers, who identified himself as Stephen, said Ngcawuzele and a group had been the first to arrive at the beach.

"They went into the sea and we were very shocked when his friend reported the drowning to us," said Stephen.

Ngcawuzele's death, if confirmed, would bring to four the number of drownings in Cape Town since the start of the new year.

In one incident, a 27-year-old man is presumed to have drowned at Melkbosstrand on January 1.

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