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Mom grieves double deaths allegedly by man she treated as her own son

Bonolo Makhura with a picture of her sister Itumeleng Makhura and her daughter Tshepang Makhura, 11. Picture: Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)

Bonolo Makhura with a picture of her sister Itumeleng Makhura and her daughter Tshepang Makhura, 11. Picture: Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 27, 2022


Pretoria - A mother’s instinct can never be wrong, and this hunch turned out to be the most devastating for Flora Makhura of Mamelodi, who spoke to Pretoria News about the murder of her 31-year-old daughter Itumeleng Makhura and her young grandchild allegedly at the hands of Kenneth "Majozi" Debeila.

The painful story started on a Friday in March, when 11-year-old Tshepang and her 4-year-old sister went to visit their father, Debeila at the township’s Nellmapius Extension Two.

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The anguished woman said on that fateful Friday, Debeila arrived to ask that his two small children visit him to spend the day with him. "He promised to buy them Ultramel and other sweet treats.“

Flora said she did not have a good feeling about the visit, but agreed anyway, urging the children to communicate with her throughout the visit.

"On Saturday the children went to Kenny's family home, and I told Tshepang to make a call back when they have arrived."

Indeed, the 11-year-old did as told, and, said Flora, she even sent her son to confirm that they were really at Kenny's house.

In the evening, Flora said she sent Itumeleng’s younger sister Bonolo to fetch the children, but she returned alone, saying the children had refused to come home with her.

"Tshepang refused to come back, so the others also refused to come with me. They were watching ‘Mr Bones’, that's why. But, Kenny's sister promised that she will send the children home the next morning."

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Bonolo explained that she she herself stayed at the Debeila home longer that necessary, even after agreeing to leave the children there for the night.

The next morning, she heard said her mother on the phone asking the accused to about Itumeleng's whereabouts.

"This was because when she called Itumeleng, Kenny answered the call, and my mom asked him to give the phone to my sister several times. He just said she's asleep.

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"He then dropped the call, and when my mom called again the phone was off."

Bonolo said her mother became worried and said she had a feeling that was something was wrong with her daughter.

The worried mother changed out of her pyjamas and walked to Debeila's house with a friend of Itumeleng, and, Bonolo added: "When my mom approached the gate, just around the corner, they bumped into Kenny carrying a backpack and two other bags.

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"He was asked where he was going and he said there was a man nearby he wanted to give the bags to.

"My mom and the friend then proceeded to the house, calling out Tshepang's name.

“They found Kenny's brother at the home and he told them they were inside, but the bedroom door was locked. Luckily, the window was open so they could peep through."

That is when the mother made the startling discovery.

"They saw Tshepang on the bed, covered by a duvet. They broke the window, and inside they saw that foam was coming out of Tshepang mouth. There was dried blood on her and she was naked. She was no more."

To add to the painful discovery, there was a powerful stench in the room, but no one could figure out where it was coming from.

“Little did they know that it was the lifeless body of Itumeleng.”

The police were called and searched the room, but could not find another body.

"The forensic person said the smell was too strong to be coming from Tshepang, and he said she had been dead for at least four hours."

Later that day, the community and the family went back to the suspect's house to look for Itumeleng.

When they got to the house they were not allowed in. It was then agreed that only the family and a community member known as Sipho could go inside.

"Sipho went straight to the room and searched, turning the bed up, and that is when he found Itumeleng's lifeless body underneath," Bonolo said.

The family said the 11-year-old child was also sexually assaulted.

A manhunt was launched for Debeila, who remained elusive until he handed himself to the police on June 13 at Lebowakgomo in Limpopo. He has appeared in court and been charged with the double murder of the mother and daughter, plus the rape of his daughter.

The family said they wanted justice for the mother and daughter, adding this incident was not the first time the suspect was suspected of committed murder.

"I hope he rots in jail; how can you rape your own daughter?“ Flora said.

The family and two other relatives have described Itumeleng as a fun-loving person who loved going out.

"Itumeleng was known as a make-up artist, famous for installing nice eyelashes; women would come here for Itumeleng’s lashes and make-up.

"She was a very good make-up artist, I miss her and Tshepang," one of the relatives added.

"Tshepang was just a child, I still cannot believe that this happened to her," Flora said.

The family described the suspect as someone they took as their own son, a disciplined person, and said they were surprised by the horrific murders.

They did worry about the surviving 4-year-old son, who, when the time is right, will have to be told how his father was accused of murdering his mother and sister.

They believe the horrific story will destroy him as he grows older.

Flora said had not come to terms with the deaths, and wished that the mother and daughter would walk through the door and everything would be fine.

Debeila appeared before Pretoria Magistrates' Court on June 14 and was remanded until the case resumes on July 14.

Pretoria News