Police on the scene near Mtwalume where a woman’s body was found in the bush. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)
Police on the scene near Mtwalume where a woman’s body was found in the bush. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)

Family battling to bury suspected Mtwalume serial killer

By Nkululeko Nene Time of article published Sep 13, 2020

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Durban - The family of suspected serial killer Mduduzi “Mafutha” Khomo, who allegedly hanged himself while in police custody, are struggling to bury him. His body has been lying in the mortuary for a month.

Khomo was expected to appear at Turton Magistrate’s Court in Mtwalume on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast but was found dead hours before his appearance.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) investigated his death but found no instance of foul play.

Khomo, 41, was one of two accused arrested for the murders of five women in the Mtwalume area on the South Coast of KZN between April and August this year.

The bodies of the women were found dumped in a sugarcane field and a nearby bush. He had apparently confessed to the killings.

The second suspect was released due to lack of evidence.

Khomo’s family home in the Dingimbiza village had locks hanging on each door.

According to neighbours, the family fled after the angry community threatened to burn down their home.

Aphile Khomo, a close relative, said the family left the area three weeks ago after death threats from the community members who protested against the burial of her troubled cousin. She also suffered verbal abuse after she gave shelter to her grandmother (the deceased’s mother) for two days. Khomo said the angry mob stormed her home demanding that she expel her aunt if she wanted peace.

“We stayed in a cattle kraal for three consecutive nights scared that the mob will come back to attack us. We could not sleep fearing for our lives,” she said.

She described Khomo as an “angel” who would not harm even a fly. He used to work as a petrol attendant at a local garage. She was angry with him for ending his life before he could serve out his punishment.

“I have never seen an angel before, but to me, he was a quiet, innocent person. Even if he had bad intentions, you could not tell”, she said.

Khomo’s brother Sandile, who was also in hiding, said the family could not bury him because the community wanted them gone. He said his frail mother had suffered depression before asking for officials to help them bury his brother. He said while it was taboo for an African person to be cremated, it may be the only option because the family has been ostracised.

IFP MP Inkosi Bhekizizwe Luthuli said there was little he could do to help the family because the angry community members could dig up the grave. He advised that the family approach the municipality for help to bury Khomo in the public cemetery.

IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa said it was unfortunate that Khomo died when the grieving families were expecting closure.

The families of Zama Chiliza, Akhona Gumede, Nosipho Gumede, Nelisiwe Dube and Jabu Mqadi were disappointed that Khomo ended his life without justice being served.

Sunday Tribune

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