A 21-year-old suspect Novice Mathebula will be charged with murder of Matimu Xolani Timbane (16) from Bonwani village in the outskirts of Giyani.
Limpopo Police said Mathebula was initially arrested for allegedly kidnapping the deceased teenager in one of the taverns at Mavalani village on Christmas day.
Matimu’s body was found dumped in the Nsami river on Tuesday, 29 December 2020 after the teenager was reported missing earlier in the day, and her body was positively identified by her family on Thursday, 07 January 2021.
“Preliminary police investigations revealed that the deceased, identified as Matimu Xolani Timbane, was last seen in the company of the suspect on 25 December 2020 under the circumstances that bordered on kidnapping.
“We launched the search operation for both the suspect and the 16-year-old girl. The suspect was traced by the police and he was arrested in Johannesburg on 05 January 2021 after a tip-off that he flew to Gauteng Province.
“He appeared in Giyani Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, 07 January 2021 facing a charge of kidnapping and the case was remanded to 13 January 2021 for further police investigations.
“After the family positively identified the deceased, the accused will now face an additional charge of murder when he again appears in court on 13 January 2021. Investigations into how the victim was murdered are unfolding”, added Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo.
The Provincial Commissioner of police in Limpopo Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba has commended the investigating team for arresting the suspect. “This arrest attests to our resolve as members of the SAPS that there will be no limits when hunting down the perpetrators of heinous crimes such as this,” said General Ledwaba.
“I must, however, urge our communities, especially parents and guardians to speedily report missing persons to the police and not wait for some days before doing so,” concluded General Ledwaba.
“The suspect could face additional charges as police investigations are continuing”, concluded Brigadier Mojapelo.