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Thursday, August 11, 2022

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Gugulethu family seeks answers over daughter’s mysterious death

Nontsomi Mdodana. The distraught Mdodana family claim their daughter Nontsomi died at the hands of her boyfriend. Picture: Supplied

Nontsomi Mdodana. The distraught Mdodana family claim their daughter Nontsomi died at the hands of her boyfriend. Picture: Supplied

Published Aug 3, 2022

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Cape Town - At the start of Women’s Month, with the focus on the ongoing killing of women, a Gugulethu family are heartbroken and seeking answers about the mysterious death of their 29-year-old daughter who died at her boyfriend’s place of residence.

The distraught Mdodana family claim their daughter Nontsomi died at the hands of her boyfriend but the police are not treating it as a murder – even with evidence from the family on the state of her body when found.

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Nontsomi’s mother Lindelwa said when the family were called to the scene by the boyfriend’s family they were told by the boyfriend’s mother that she had died in her sleep.

This she said was secondary information from the boyfriend who discovered in the morning that Nontsomi wasn’t breathing before the police and parents were called.

However, on further assessment of the body, while it was on the scene, Lindelwa said she discovered that Nontsomi’s face was swollen with bruises and her mouth was bleeding. She said when she opened her mouth it had clots.

Lindelwa said she was told that the couple argued the previous day (Saturday) and her boyfriend was seen dragging and assaulting her.

She said when the police and the ambulance personnel arrived at the scene, and after she was declared dead, no forensic evidence was gathered despite the clear bruises. When the police were done taking statements she said they were told to arrange for an undertaker to remove the corpse.

“No case was opened or arrests made as it was assumed/decided by police that she died of natural causes. The police only opened an inquest yesterday (Monday) after we demanded further investigation.”

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“We are not satisfied with the feeble report we received from the family that Nontsomi died in her sleep, presumably from natural causes.

“Her boyfriend admitted they had an argument but denies assaulting her. This has brought a lot of pain to the family and has left us with many unanswered questions. It is most painful that she left her 6-year-old son and the many hurdles with the police,” she said.

She said after they opened a case, the police had committed to fetch the body from the undertaker and that the family was awaiting post-mortem results.

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Neighbour Makhosonke Nyibe criticised the handling of the case by the police. He said the community was mobilising to ensure the case was prioritised and justice served.

“It is evident the police failed to handle the case with the care it deserves. The bruises on her face and the torn clothes with blood stains which we showed the police are evidence enough that there is more to this than what the boyfriend and the mother claim. We cannot let him get away with murder, whether it was intentional or not,” Nyibe said.

Police spokesperson Joseph Swartbooi said the circumstances surrounding a complaint in Gugulethu were under investigation.

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On arrival at the scene at NY 7 on Sunday, Swartbooi said Gugulethu police found the body of a 29-year-old female who was declared deceased on the scene by the medical personnel.

He said Gugulethu police registered an inquest for further investigation.

Anti-GBV organisation Ilitha Labantu said it would consult the victim’s family and ensure the perpetrator was brought to justice.

The organisation’s spokesperson Siyabulela Monakali said this case comes in light of a string of femicide cases that plagued the Crossroads and Gugulethu communities the past week.

“Femicide in our communities has reached pandemic rates and we appeal for justice for all victims of GBV and femicide.

“This year’s Women’s Month is celebrated against the backdrop of the 66th anniversary of the women’s march of 1956, and sadly enough we are failing our constitutional mandate of protecting the rights and dignity of women and calls for stronger action to be taken to enforce the law for the greater protection of women,” Monakali said.

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