Johannesburg - A mother of yet another missing Soweto teenager alleged on Monday that the man behind her daughter’s disappearance is Jabu Linda Khumalo.
Nokuthula Nkosi alerted The Star team shortly after Khumalo made his second appearance at the Protea Magistrate’s Court in Soweto, saying: “It is him. It does not change anything.”
Nkosi, a nurse, said she recognised Khumalo as the man who wore a black hat and jacket sitting opposite her home on the day her 13-year-old daughter Sibongile disappeared.
The mother-of-three hasn’t heard from her since July 18, 2011. Sibongile would usually accompany her to catch a taxi just outside her gate, but on that Saturday she insisted Sibongile stay behind.
“I asked her not to come with me. I don’t know why,” said the distraught mother during an interview with The Star in 2011.
Speaking at the time, Nkosi recalled seeing a man wearing a black hat and jacket sitting opposite her home.
“He was looking towards my house. I asked myself what was this man staring at, but then I took a taxi to work,” she said.
A few hours later, she received a call from her eldest son informing her that Sibongile had not returned from the shops.
A missing-person case was registered at the Moroka police station.
On Monday, Nkosi said they would go to the police station to talk to the investigating officer.
Nkosi was in court to support the parents of Mbali Nkosi, who was allegedly kidnapped in July 2011. The two families are not related.
Mbali had gone to buy meat at the nearby Maponya Shoprite Centre in Dube, but never returned home. Her mother was the last person to hear her voice.
After leaving a phone message later in the day, she disappeared. Mbali said “Mama”, then the phone was cut off and she has not been heard of or seen since.
Last Wednesday, Khumalo was arrested by a police officer near the Shoprite centre.
This was almost the exact spot where Mbali was last seen. She was 15 at the time.
According to police spokesman Constable Sibusiso Chauke, Khumalo is facing two counts of kidnapping and one of rape.
“It is alleged that he kidnapped a teenage girl on January 18, 2011 in White City, Soweto.
“The victim escaped through an open window at the house,” Chauke said shortly after Khumalo’s arrest.
Khumalo was arrested and later released on bail, but he absconded and a warrant for his arrest was issued.
On Monday, Khumalo told the court he wished to be represented by a Legal Aid lawyer. He also told the court he would not apply for bail.
While being escorted to the court cells, his grandmother softly whispered: “Where are the children?”
Instead of answering, Khumalo smiled at his grandparents and waved to them.
The elderly woman was sitting next to her husband in the public gallery, on the same bench as Nkosi and her husband.
In 2012, The Star published a series of articles about the girls’ disappearance and a plea from the police requesting readers to assist them to find both the girls and Khumalo.
Speaking outside court, Mbali’s father, Edwin Magwai, said Khumalo’s grandparents confirmed that they did not know the reasons why he left for KwaZulu-Natal.
“They said they didn’t know he had committed crimes in Soweto. The woman was emotional. She was crying, but I am confused. I don’t know whether to believe her or not. What if she is pretending?
“It’s truly sad that my daughter is out there,” said Magwai.
The matter was postponed to Monday.