The family of Linda Matati, 23, have positively identified her body after a year-long search.
Johannesburg - Hope turned to grief for a mother this week when she identified the body of her missing daughter at a state mortuary after a year-long search.

Last week, The Star revealed details of Linda Matati, 23, going missing at a party in the south of Joburg after accepting a lift from alleged cash-in-transit kingpin Thabo Happy Mosia.

Her mother, Gloria Sibuye, alleges that Mosia killed her when she refused to give him information about the movements of cash-in-transit vehicles. Matati worked at SBV Services.

Mosia has been charged with her murder but denies killing her.

On Monday, Matati’s mother positively identified her daughter’s body at a state mortuary in Bronkhorstspruit, east of Pretoria. Sibuye had faith that her daughter would be found alive when The Star spoke to her last week.

Although the family have not had a happy ending to the agonising 12-month search for Matati, they were relieved on Wednesday at finally getting closure.

Sibuye said police told her Matati’s body was found half-naked in an open field in Bronkhorspruit last October.

“The police say she was not wearing any pants. I could identify her by the bodysuit she was wearing and her face. Her watch and cellphone were not found.

“I am relieved. I cried a lot. I’m hurting but I’m lucky. It was by the grace of God that we found her at the mortuary,” Sibuye said.

“I hope that they can give us the body soon so we can have a funeral and closure. It has been such a tough time, but I’m still standing,” she said.

Mosia is expected to stand trial in the high court in Joburg next month for the murder and kidnapping.

All Sibuye wants at the trial is answers.

“When I go to court I want to speak to his wife. I want Linda’s belongings. I want to speak to his wife and ask for her shoes, cellphone and watch. I also want to know why he killed her,” the tearful Sibuye said.

Matati’s body was the second body that Sibuye had been asked to identify. Mosia first told the police he had dumped Matati’s body on the N12, but when DNA tests were done it was found that it was not her body.

Bronkhorstspruit police spokesperson Captain Sarah Mcira confirmed that Matati’s body was found in an open veld last year and they had struggled to identify her.

“We used local radio stations to alert the community that the body of a young woman had been found, but no one came forward until we found the mother,” said Mcira.

Mosia was one of the most wanted men in Gauteng because of his alleged involvement in heists. He was in hiding until he was arrested five months after Matati went missing. Mosia was arrested in Eldorado Park in 2011 in connection with four cash-in-transit heists that took place between March 2005 and August 2006, as well as a string of other crimes.

A month before his arrest, the Asset Forfeiture Unit seized his assets, including two houses, one valued at R1.2 million. He had also bought his mother - a social grant recipient - a house worth R120 000 for cash.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwana said they were trying to trace all of his cases and reinstate them after they had vanished without being concluded in court.

The Star