File picture: SAPS Twitter
Nelspruit - A 17-year-old boy who allegedly raped and strangled a schoolmate to death after she turned down his proposal will appear in a Mpumalanga court  on Friday.

The boy was arrested on Wednesday after the 16-year-old girl failed to return from a study session in Ncakeni, Pienaar, near Nelspruit on Monday.

According to Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi, the girl's parents then unsuccessfully carried out a search for her in the area a day later. 

"They, however, learned that she was last seen with the suspect, after the study session on that day.  The parents then reported the matter to the police. 

"Police immediately confronted the suspect and enquired about the whereabouts of the victim," Hlathi told IOL. 

The suspect initially claimed the girl had driven off with an unknown man, whom he thought was her uncle but after interrogation, allegedly changed his tune and informed the police the victim had died as a result of strangulation.

Hlathi explained that the suspect, who was in the same school as the victim, strangled the girl after she turned down his proposal. 

"Shortly before she died, he allegedly raped her as well.

"He then buried her for fear of being arrested... and proceeded to point out [ to police] where the body was buried; in a shallow grave in Pienaar," Hlathi said.

The boy was then arrested and charged with murder, rape and defeating the ends of justice. 

Hlathi confirmed that a second person was taken in for questioning after the boy initially implicated him in the matter before changing his tune. 

It remains unclear if the person, also a minor, will be charged along with the suspect. 

The 17-year-old boy will appear in Kanyamazane Periodical Court.