Private Nomathemba Ngeleka’s family made the shocking revelation at her full military funeral on Saturday.
“This coward shot her with an assault rifle. He meant to kill her because he shot her in the head, hands and in the back. It pains me that my daughter died at the hands of a fellow soldier, in such a brutal manner,” said Ngeleka’s father, Nkosinathi Ngeleka.
“We wish the law to take its course but we have been told by the Defence Department that the suspect is still in a DRC hospital and that if he makes it, he will be wheelchair-bound,” Nkosinathi said.
Ngeleka’s boyfriend allegedly tried to commit suicide with the same firearm after shooting her.
He was hospitalised with critical wounds.
Nkosinathi said the family would never forgive the soldier - who has not officially been named.
Ngeleka, 27, leaves behind an 11-year-old daughter, who was at her mother’s funeral.
The military honoured its dead colleague during her funeral in KwaNzimakwe Village, Ezingolweni area on the South Coast.
The atmosphere was sombre as the Defence Department officiated at the proceedings from the local Xhunywa Primary schoolground, to the burial site at the nearby Ngeleka homestead.
Nkosinathi was tearful as he accepted the South African flag, which draped his daughter’s casket, from defence officials.
Ngeleka was based at Ladysmith’s 5 South African Infantry Battalion (5 SAI). She joined the army in 2011.
SANDF spokesperson Major Musa Nhlumayo confirmed that an automatic assault rifle was used in the murder.
“He used a state rifle to commit the murder. I can, however, not tell whether the rifle was on automatic when fired, only the perpetrator himself would know,” Nhlumayo said.
Asked if the man would face a court martial once fully recovered, Nhlumayo said: “There will be a criminal case that will be pursued by the police, and on our side as the military, he will be charged, but not for murder.
“It could be a charge of using state property to commit a crime,” he said.