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Cape Town - Joggers and homeless people living in Newlands Forest were oblivious to the skeletal remains, including a skull, that lay in a pile just metres away from them in what appeared to be a shrine.
Zayne Jaffer, who discovered the bones and who works at private security firm Mountain Security, said the bones were stacked on top of each other in a triangle, “the same way one would stack wood together to make a fire”, with the skull at the bottom.
“Underneath the skull, you could see dark coal. It looks like it’s been burnt. The bones are clean and dry. There were ribs, leg bones, pieces of spine, but no feet and no hands,” he said.
“If you walked past, you wouldn’t have noticed it. And even if you did, you would have thought it’s a dog’s bones.”
Jaffer said burn marks “looking like dark coal” on some of the bones indicated they had been set alight. He said he and a colleague made the find while patrolling the “green belts” (bushes) looking for
criminal activity after receiving a call from trackers employed by the company.
The trackers, Augustinos Linyansi and Manelo Baptista, initially called to alert them to a homeless man living in the forest. Jaffer found the homeless man but, after searching further, found the pile of bones too. Police officers from Claremont police station cordoned off the scene while they waited for a forensics team to arrive.
They later handcuffed the homeless man. The dreadlocked unidentified man told Weekend Argus he had no idea where the bones came from or what they were used for. Joggers didn’t pause as they passed by and saw the homeless man being put in the back of a police van.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut confirmed that “a skeleton, human remains were found”.
“That Rasta interfered with the police’s work and didn’t want to leave the scene.”
He said the man was due to appear in court on Monday.