Johannesburg - A heartbroken younger sister of slain Capricorn TVET College student Precious Ramabulana says her only biological sister left without saying goodbye.
Speaking inside the two-roomed house they shared with their mother in Tshikuwi - a rural area in Nzhelele in Limpopo - 12-year-old Phathutshedzo Ramabulana tried to console herself when speaking about the brutal murder of her sister.
Ramabulana said “Pfunani”, a nickname the family used to call her with, would always help her with her schoolwork whenever she was around.
“We had a good relationship as sisters and I could always depend on her for anything I needed,” said Ramabulana.
The final year Business Management student was allegedly raped and stabbed 52 times inside her rented room in Mokomene, Botlokwa, on Sunday night.
According to Ramabulana’s aunt Rudzani Mashotha, 35, her niece called her, crying.
“She said she was seeing a shadow of a hand protruding from the window of her room. She also said she could hear footsteps of a person doing ups and downs,” Mashotha said.
“I then told her that we must pray, which we did over the phone,” she said.
Mashotha further said after the prayer, Ramabulana then called one of her friends who was her neighbour who then told her to come to her room.
“She responded by saying she cannot leave her room because she did not know if the perpetrator would be alone or with another person,” Mashotha added.
Scared and fearing for her life, Ramabulana then called her landlord who was away in Joburg.
After several attempts at getting help had proven fruitless, “I then told her to call the police. I am not even sure if she had the number,” Mashotha said.
“Her phone then went off and I thought maybe it was due to the network because the weather was drizzling a bit outside.”
Confused and scared, the aunt then sought help from the Dzanani local police station and she was instructed to call the Botlokwa local police station.
“The police said they would get back to me. At that time, it was around 3:00,” she said.
“At 5:15 the police got back to me and told me that Precious is no more,” Mashotha added.
Breaking the news to Precious’s mentally-ill mother was the worst.
“She wept bitterly.
"She really loved her daughter,” the aunt said.
Mashotha said on Monday the family then travelled to the Polokwane government mortuary to identify the body and could not believe what they saw.
“She died in the cruelest way. The stabs were too many. It was truly unbelievable,” she said.
Prior to identifying the body, they first passed by her rented room.
“It was so scary because we did not know what had transpired before she took her last breath. There was just blood all over.”
The deceased attended several primary schools before completing her intermediate phase at Tshikuwi Primary.
She then proceeded to George Mbulaheni High School where she matriculated in 2017.
She then registered at the college for a Business Management course, majoring in Accounting, and was expected to write her final paper three days before she was murdered.
Her mother, Peggy Ramabulana, looked rather sombre and hopeless.
“I had high hopes in her, that she would uplift us from the poverty we live in,” she said.
“She had hopes of working at a bank or the government. We were each other’s confidants.”
Ronewa Nenzhelele, 21, said her neighbour and former high schoolmate, Precious was a polite and calm person.
“I am heartbroken. It’s really hard to accept that she is no more,” he said.
The Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme (TVEP) - a non-profit organisation fighting gender-based violence against women and children in the Vhembe district - said during the 16 Days of Activism campaign, gender-based violence incidents usually increase.
Maanea Maluma from the institution said he does not know where the problem lies anymore.
“I don’t know what people need to hear anymore because as an organisation we are fighting this problem day in day out,” he said.
“I don’t know if it’s a way of a person trying to prove a point because such cases are really heart-breaking,” Maluma said.