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Lifting of alcohol ban blamed for murder of two more women

Shocked residents look on as the body of 22-year-old Nomvuzo Atoli is found in a rubbish container in Philippi. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA)

Shocked residents look on as the body of 22-year-old Nomvuzo Atoli is found in a rubbish container in Philippi. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 21, 2020


Cape Town – While the country observes Women’s Month, two more young women have been murdered - one of them allegedly by her ex-boyfriend.

Philippi residents, still reeling from the recent murder of 17-year-old Amahle Quku, yesterday woke up to the gruesome discovery of the lifeless body of another young woman.

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Nomvuzo Atoli, 22, was found dumped in a rubbish container with injuries to her head at Siyanyanzela informal settlement.

The incident came as an Eastern Cape family was mourning the death of their 20-year-old Wits University student, Asithandile Kwasa Zozo, allegedly killed by her ex-boyfriend, Viwe Rulumeni, 22, following an argument in Dutywa on Monday.

Atoli was last seen alive while with friends on Wednesday evening. Her body was discovered by commuters on their way to work.

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Her death follows that of Quku, whose body was discovered in the same area in June, just metres away from where Atoli was discovered yesterday.

This is also where 25-year-old rape survivor Grace Mafadu tried faking her death in the hope that her attacker, the man arrested for Amahle’s murder, would stop stabbing her while she lay helplessly next to a pile of rubbish last year.

At the scene where Atoli’s body was found, her aunt Nokwandisa Nyalela said she became aware of her niece’s death after pictures of her body were posted online.

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“We were still sleeping when my son came and said 'mama wake up, they are saying on Facebook Nomvuzo is dead'. I woke up and I called my whole community and we rushed here,” said the aunt.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said circumstances leading to the murder were under investigation.

“Please be informed that a case of murder has been opened for investigation by Nyanga SAPS after a body of a 22-year-old woman was found at Siyanyanzela informal settlement, Nyanga.

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“According to reports, police were alerted to the discovery of the deceased by the community. Upon their arrival they found her at a dumping site with head injuries. The circumstances surrounding this incident are under investigation with no arrests so far.”

Ward 80 councillor Nkululeko Mgolombane said the community was concerned that yet another young woman’s life was lost.

Founder of the gender-based violence awareness project in Philippi, the Answered Prayers Foundation, Reverend Anitha Pamla, said: “We are all shocked as women by this incident.

“We can say that these are the outcomes of lifting the ban on alcohol, even in Amahle’s case there was alcohol involved.”

Meanwhile, Zozo’s family said yesterday that they will always remember the first year chemistry student's bright smile.

According to the family, her ex-lover Rulumeni gained entry through the window in the bathroom at Zozo’s family home in the Dutywa town.

When he entered, Zozo was with her sister and an 11-year-old child. He was allegedly wielding a knife and ordered them not to scream.

An argument ensued and it is alleged that Zozo was first poisoned by Rulumeni before he stabbed her to death. She died while on her way to the hospital.

After the incident, Rulumeni overdosed himself with tablets. He was taken to Butterworth Hospital where he was treated under police guard and later discharged on Wednesday.

Zozo’s father, Mzulungile Zozo, said his daughter’s death had taken a toll on the family.

“It’s difficult to process the death of my daughter. This has affected me to a point of losing my memory. My wife was admitted to a doctor not once but twice since the incident.

’’When I accompanied her to Wits earlier this year, driving my bakkie, she said she will buy me a luxury car after graduating.

’’She always had a smile, was good at organising and was very good at problem solving,” the father said.

Rulumeni appeared at the Dutywa Magistrate’s Court yesterday. His bail hearing was postponed to August 26.

Eastern Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga condemned Zozo’s killing and called on the public to help the police fight against GBV.

Cape Times