Komell Pillay. Picture: Supplied
Durban - The man accused of murdering 22-year-old Tongaat woman Komell Pillay, whose half naked body was found in an abandoned building in Tongaat, made a first appearance at the Verulam Magistrate's Court.

Siphiwe Fiso Mthembu, 23, was remanded in custody at Tongaat SAPS after the state needed more time to verify the accused’s address and if he had any previous convictions.

State prosecutor, Winnie Mlangeni opposed bail. 

Magistrate Rajesh Parshotham also explained to the accused his rights to an attorney. 

Mthembu subsequently opted to be represented by legal aid.

The case was adjourned to July 18 for bail consideration.

Mthembu was arrested three days after Pillay’s body was found.

He was only charged with murder as DNA results have not yet been released. 
According to family members, Pillay who was fondly known as Delicia, failed to return home after she went to a local  nightclub with a female friend on Saturday night.

Her sister, Desray Gounden said they tried to make contact with her on Sunday but Pillay did not have her phone with her.

The family later received a call from police stating Pillay’s body was found in an abandoned building in Brake Village.

Speculations were rife that she was strangled and raped but police and the family could not confirm if this was indeed true, saying the post mortem is still outstanding. 

Family and friends paid their respects to Pillay on Wednesday at the Belvedere community hall before she was cremated at the oTongathi Crematorium.