Durban – THE National Police Commissioner has offered a ray of hope to the families of the Mthwalume women who were found dead in sugar cane fields in recent months.
The bodies of Zama Chiliza, Akhona Gumede, Nosipho Gumede, Nelisiwe Dube and Jabu Mqadi were found near a sugar cane field in Mtwalume, on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, earlier this year.
General Khehla Sitole was present during KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala’s special meeting on crime in the province on Wednesday.
Sitole said immediately after the Mtwalume incident and going into the initial arrest, they identified other suspects but had not yet effected an arrest.
“We are close to making arrests. We will be announcing them as soon as they are arrested,” said Sitole.
A sixth body was found along a road in Mtwalume in August. The victim was burnt beyond recognition and has yet to be identified.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said: “The victim has not been identified pending DNA results.”
During the premier’s visit to Mtwalume in September, he said it appeared that the women had been raped before they were killed.
Nosipho Gumede’s aunt, Nonhlanhla Ngongoma, said it had been “a while” since they had heard anything from the police.
Ngongoma said communication with the SAPS ended after a suspect hanged himself and the second suspect was released.
She said at this rate they were starting to tell themselves to accept the situation and to try to let the incident pass.
“We heard that others were being investigated but we don’t want to rely on that. We’re waiting for the police to tell us directly,” said Ngongoma.
Mtwalume Community Police Forum chairperson Lucky Bhuyeni said there had been silence for a while.
“I was the link between the police and the victims’ families because police and detectives had not been updating them. When I would find something, I would update them,” he said.