Quinton Mtyala

A YEAR after she disappeared, a Nyanga woman has been found dead, covered in garden refuse, in a wheelie bin in a neighbour’s backyard.

The 29-year-old neighbour was to appear in court today in connection with the murder of Ntsiki Tyatyeka, 21, police spokesman Captain Frederick van Wyk said.

Although the body was severely decomposed, police were able to identify Tyatyeka.

“A post-mortem will be done,” Van Wyk said.

Tyatyeka disappeared on September 6 last year.

Her mother, Nombasa Tyatyeka, 50, said she had given up hope of finding out what had become of her elder daughter.

“I last saw her on September 3 when I left for the Eastern Cape. People would tell me they had seen her in Khayelitsha. Someone once told me he saw her in J Section (a part of the township notorious for crime), but these were all false alarms.”

Nombasa Tyatyeka reported her daughter’s disappearance to the Nyanga police.

“Police told me they could not do anything about it because she was over 21.”

Although police were aware that her daughter’s friends had said she had last been seen entering the house of the man now in custody, nothing came of their tip-offs, Nombasa Tyatyeka said.

The young woman, who had failed Grade 11 and had been repeating it, had dropped out of Grade 11 at Heideveld High School in mid-2009.

She continued living with her mother in the Mau-Mau section of Nyanga, and began smoking tik.

Neighbours said the man arrested in connection with her death was known for smoking tik and his home as a “tik house”.

Ntsiki Tyatyeka’s drug abuse was soon noted by her family.

Nombasa Tyatyeka said her daughter was open about being a lesbian, or a “tomboy”, as her mother described her.

“I used to beat her (for smoking tik). I even sent her to the rehab in NY6, but each time she came out she would go back to her old ways.”

According to neighbours, the neighbour had bragged to a friend, who had recently been released from prison, that the young woman was dead, and he could not understand the “fuss” her family and friends were making about her disappearance.

Soon after she disappeared, the family heard that Ntsiki Tyatyeka was dead and that her body had been dumped beside Lansdowne Road, near Philippi, but this turned out to be false.

On Friday, after hearing on the grapevine what the neighbour had said to the man freed from jail, Ntsiki Tyatyeka’s family, accompanied by the police and neighbours, went to the house where the young woman had last been seen.

While searching the house and backyard, police discovered human remains in one of two wheelie bins.

“(Ntsiki’s body) was wrapped in a blanket and dumped head-first into the bin, which had no wheels, and (she) was covered in all sorts of refuse, including soil,” said Nombasa Tyatyeka.

Neighbours recalled that a “foul smell” had come from the yard, but said they had dismissed it as “probably a dead animal”.

Thokozile Ntsele, one of the neighbours, said the discovery of the young woman’s body had upset the community.

“We’ve been unable to sleep, especially after seeing that what had been smelling all along was someone we had known. It was painful,” Ntsele said.

“(The man arrested for murder) would greet Ntsiki’s mother, asking her whether she had heard anything about her daughter’s disappearance, knowing full well that she was dead and buried under a pile of rubbish,” said Ntsele.

On Friday evening, shortly after the man’s arrest, angry neighbours set upon his house, smashing windows and burning furniture.

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