Family of 4-year-old place their hopes on the law

A placard of Keeya Mbulawa and candles at her funeral. | Itumeleng English Independent Newspaper.

A placard of Keeya Mbulawa and candles at her funeral. | Itumeleng English Independent Newspaper.

Published Mar 2, 2024


The family of the 4-year-old Keeya Mbulawa who died in hospital last month after she was abducted, strangled and placed inside a pink suitcase by an eSwatini woman known to the family, has placed their hopes on the court process that is set to begin in earnest on April 19 2024.

This follows the arrest of a 35-year-old Lindeni Nohnhlelelwa Matsebula on Wednesday.

The woman who has yet to plead to the charges of kidnapping and premeditated murder, appeared briefly before the Protea Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

The state asked for more time to finalise its investigation and verify the suspect’s true identity and immigration status.

Matsebula, believed to be a eSwatini national, is reported to have stayed in the same yard with the child and her mother in Protea Glen, Soweto.

Keeya was last seen playing with other children when the suspect abducted her.

A search for the child ensued with Matsebula refusing to open her pink suitcase until forced to do so by the mother of the child and members of the community.

However, in the commotion, the suspect was able to flee, bu was arrested by the police after being spotted in the area on Wednesday.

Keeya died on Wednesday, January 17, after four days in intensive care.

Speaking after the brief court appearance, a spokesperson for the family, advocate Miller Moela said the family and the community were relieved by the arrest and had faith in the justice system.

He said it had not been easy on the family, especially Keeya’s mother, because someone that they had know for two years, and who was regarded as an aunt to child to have done this. The child was strangled with a sock and a wire and she spent at least 30 minutes in the suitcase.

He thanked members of the community, the church and the media for their support.

Moela said the process to verify the suspect’s true identity would be done with help from Interpol.

“The process to identify her true identity will be fairly easy and will be done with the help of the police and Interpol,” he said.

When asked if she has a passport, the suspect indicated that she no longer has one even though it has been reported that she had been found with multiple passport when members of the community visited her dwelling last month.

Her case was postponed to April 19.

Matsebula’s arrest was on Wednesday confirmed by SAPS spokesperson, LT Colonel Mavela Masondo who said the suspect was arrested after being spotted by members of the community while walking in the streets of Protea Glen.

Saturday Star

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