Man arrested over Plettenberg Bay teen's murder 'known by family'
The accused, believed to have been known by the victim and her family, made his first court appearance at the Plettenberg Bay Magistrate's Court yesterday, where he faced charges of murder and defeating the ends of justice.
Police spokesperson Malcolm Pojie said the case was postponed to October 4 for a formal bail application.
“Endurance and thorough investigation into the disappearance of Sandisile led to the arrest of a 56-year-old man by Kwanokuthula detectives.
"After interrogation, the suspect was arrested and voluntarily pointed out the crime scene to investigators.
“Initially we opened an inquest docket for investigation, based on the information that was provided by the family of the deceased.
"New information reveals that the suspect was the last person who was seen in the company of the deceased,” said Pojie.
Sandisile, 17, went missing on April 13 this year after her grandmother had left her at home to attend a funeral.
“On her return from the funeral, she discovered that the girl was gone. A search party was established by the Kwanokuthula police, and was conducted over a period of time, but with no positive outcome.
"Later the search was scaled down and eventually called off,” said Pojie.
Months later, on August 5, a passer-by who had taken his dog for a walk came across the skeletal remains of Sandisile in Ladywood, Plettenberg Bay.
“(The passer-by) reported it to the authorities after which the remains were recovered by Forensic Pathology Services.
"As the investigation unfolded, DNA samples were obtained from the mother of the victim which later, during private analyses, proved to be a match to the DNA sample retrieved from the skeleton of the missing girl,” said Pojie.
Bitou municipality’s gender spokesperson Singisisa Ngemntusonjani said a group of residents demonstrated outside the courthouse yesterday morning, calling for the accused not to get bail.
“Our community was left shocked by the murder of this beautiful child.
"This is not the first incident where a child was killed so brutally in our community and residents decided to take a stand against this by approaching police and asking them about the progress of the case after we heard at the beginning of last week that nobody had been arrested yet.
“Since then the police have been in contact with the group of women following up on the case and we are happy with the strides made. We are very worried about the safety of women and children in the community, which is why we do not want the accused to get bail.
"He has to remain in custody until his trial outcome.
"This has awakened us to say enough is enough,” said Ngemntusonjani.
The group said they would again protest outside court at the bail application hearing.