Cape Town 100111. Nokwanele Gontsana who went missing in 2002 at the age of 17 PHOTO SAM CLARK

Caryn Dolley

THE family of Nokwanele Gontsana, who disappeared from the Strandfontein Pavilion a decade ago, has identified a man in Gugulethu they suspect know what has happened to her.

And they believe others in the community also know, but are refusing to come forward.

Even though the suspect has been questioned by police, they have not received information about what may have become of Gontsana on September 27, 2002 – the last time she was seen.

Gontsana was in matric at the time.

She had gone to Alexander Sinton Secondary School, in casual clothes as it was the last day of term, to pay R200 in school fees.

After paying the fees, she left the premises with friends and said she was attending a party at Strandfontein Pavilion.

Earlier this month, Patrick Dichabe, a close family friend who has been involved in efforts to find her, said Nokwanele’s family was doing their own investigation into what had happened to her.

He said her mother, Florence Gontsana, believed the Gugulethu man, who was Gontsana’s boyfriend at the time, was a suspect because of information she had received.

“Police know about him. They questioned him and did a lie detector test, but nothing came up,” Dichabe said.

Gontsana’s daughter Nokuzola Gontsana said they believed the man knew more than he was letting on.

“No one is coping. We’re always searching around just trying to find out what happened to Nokwanele,” she said.

Dichabe said they had “only heard rumours” about what happened, “but we know there are people out there who know what happened to Nokwanele. They’re just refusing to come forward.”

Human bones found buried along Strandfontein Road in 2010 were too old for DNA to be extracted, Dichabe said last week.

“They are 10 years old; this corresponds with when Nokwanele went missing,” he said.

The Gontsana family wanted to hire a private forensic pathologist to test the bones, but Dichabe said they lacked money to do it.

They had set up a Facebook page, “Missing Nokwanele Gontsana”, which included details about her disappearance and contact numbers people with information could call.

Earlier this month Clarence Driver, who was the investigating officer in the case, said a R50 000 reward for information about Nkwanele’s whereabouts was still available. The case would be reopened if more information surfaced.

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