Sam Mbatha’s death verified nearly year later after burnt body found in car’s boot

Sam Mbatha, whose body was found in the boot of a burnt-out car (right) at a soccer field in Klipgat. Four people have been arrested after his death. Picture: Supplied

Sam Mbatha, whose body was found in the boot of a burnt-out car (right) at a soccer field in Klipgat. Four people have been arrested after his death. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 12, 2022


Betty Moleya

Pretoria - The Mbatha family of Klipgat has finally received DNA test results that confirmed that a body found in the boot of a vehicle in June last year was that of their son.

Sam Junior Mbatha was burnt beyond recognition, and the family was not able to give him a proper burial, as the remains had to be identified to confirm if it was him.

His family last saw him on June 16, and the gruesome discovery was made the following morning.

The police were called to what was described as a “horrific scene” at a soccer field in Klipgat, Ikageng Section, where they found a sedan that had burnt to ashes.

The SAPS found the charred remains of what they believed to be a man in the boot of the vehicle, but could not confirm what had transpired. It was however suspected that the body found in the car could have been that of the owner of the vehicle, 24-year-old Sam Mbatha, who had been reported missing by his family.

Sam’s uncle Mtshengiseni Mbatha yesterday described him as a respectful young man and a dedicated academic.

“We would never get called to come and reprimand him for unruly behaviour – at school or anywhere else.

“He was very respectful, and he graduated from North West University with flying colours,” said Mbatha.

During the months of waiting for the results of the DNA tests, the family has been struggling, and wondering why the results were taking so long.

“Just like any other family with a missing child, it has been hard.

“His mother tries to be strong but one can see that she is constantly reminded that she lost her child.

“As a family, we have not yet accepted his untimely death. We are now waiting to go and see his remains, as we were told that the body was burnt beyond recognition.”

Mbatha said when the incident happened they were only called by the police after the scene had been cleared, and did not get to see the remains.

Four suspects had been arrested after investigations led the police to a house in Phutha Section, Klipgat, on June 21. The house had been searched and in one of the bedrooms, the team found blood stains on the floor, under and on top of a bed, as well as on the carpet.

In addition, an axe suspected to have been used during the commission of the crime, was found on top of the roof of the house. Accused number four remains in custody while the other three were granted R500 bail each, after many postponements of the case.

Mbatha said they couldn’t find closure because even though the suspects had been identified, most were out on bail while their family members were reminded of their loss every day.

“I see them all the time when they go to sign at the police station, as I stay next to it. How does that make me feel?

“The South African justice system is failing us and the victims. Those who committed crimes have more rights than those who are victims.”

Mbatha said details of Sam’s burial would be communicated.

The suspects are expected back at the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate’s Court on January 18.

Pretoria News

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