The deceased, 28-year-old Refilwe Letebele, was declared dead on the scene after sustaining multiple stab wounds, allegedly at the hands of her 32-year-old former partner.
The suspect, believed to be a member of a prominent local rugby club, has been charged with murder but cannot be named until his first court appearance.
However, when the matter will come before a magistrate has yet to be determined after the suspect was hospitalised after apparently stabbing himself and attempting to slit his own throat.
As mourners gathered at the family home on Sunday afternoon, Letebele’s father, Norman Letebele, said that his daughter had been the victim of gender-based violence and he appealed to all role-players to prioritise ensuring the safety of women.
“We aren’t doing enough to stop this type of crime and we all need to speak out and take a stand against violence, particularly against women and children,” said Norman on Sunday.
“We have a wonderful constitution but we need to make sure that it guarantees the safety of women.
“It is equally important that our justice system shows offenders no mercy and that our activists, advocates, judges and law enforcement officers adopt a no-nonsense approach.”
Born and bred in the city, the 28-year-old Letebele had matriculated at Kimberley Girls’ High before earning her BCom Accounting at the University of Pretoria.
Upon completing her studies, Letebele returned to Kimberley and she was working for the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) at the time of her death.
“Refilwe recently bought herself a new car and was working hard to make a success of herself and be the best person she could possibly be,” her father reflected. “She was the apple of my eye and we were all expecting great things from her.
“We were absolutely shattered by the news of her death and are really struggling to make sense of it all. She really didn’t deserve this.”
The grieving father said that while there was some comfort to be taken from the fond memories of his daughter, reminiscing would not bring her back.
He urged all victims of domestic violence to view his daughter’s death as a warning to seek help before it is too late.
“I’m not sure if there were still problems between them but it certainly wasn’t a healthy relationship,” Norman said, adding that there had been previous violent incidents.
“This is why I’m calling on all young ladies who may find themselves in a similar situation and rocky relationships to be alert and seek help as soon as they feel the need.
“If your partner is violent with you once, it should be seen as a warning sign to get out while you can.”
Meanwhile, after news of the incident involving the local rugby player broke over the weekend, the Griqualand West Rugby Union (GWRU) issued a statement in response to enquiries, saying that while it was aware of the reports, it was unable to confirm any ties between the murder suspect and the union at this stage.
“Until more information becomes available, the union will not be able to comment on enquires,” read the statement from the GWRU.
Spokesperson from Universals Rugby Club, Claude Herman, was also unable to confirm the membership of the suspect.
“We have heard about the incident but at this stage can’t really confirm or deny anything,” Herman said. “We are also waiting for more information while the person involved recovers in hospital.”
Police spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel Dimakatso Mooi, confirmed Friday’s incident, saying that a criminal investigation was currently under way.
“It is alleged that at about 7.30am on Friday, a 32-year-old man entered the house of his girlfriend and started stabbing her multiple times,” Mooi said in a statement on Sunday. “The 28-year-old woman died on the scene.
“The man then allegedly stabbed himself and tried to slit his own throat.
“He was arrested but had to be transported to hospital for medical attention. Police are investigating a case of murder.”
Spokesperson for Mediclinic Gariep, Denise Coetzee, verified that the suspect was still a patient at the hospital.
“He is currently in high care in a stable condition,” added Coetzee.
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