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Burnt body found in drum

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The stench from the decomposed body filled the air as it was taken from the drum and placed into a body bag by forensics

REMOVED: Forensic experts had to use a bolt cutter to open the drum and remove the remains of the deceased. Picture: Danie van der Lith

TWO GALESHEWE residents made a gruesome discovery yesterday when they found the burnt body of a man in a drum that was dumped in a veld next to the Galeshewe police station.

Shocked residents stood in the street yesterday morning and watched as police and forensic experts tried to remove the body from the drum.

The body was badly burnt and wrapped in what appeared to be a check blanket. The blanket was also burnt and the deceased’s clothing appeared to be stuck to it.

It is believed that the deceased was first stabbed several times in the chest before being set alight.

The drum was apparently dumped at the scene during the early hours of yesterday morning, although it is suspected that the victim, believed to be in his mid-forties, was killed somewhere else.

It also appears as if he was killed a few days earlier before being dumped in the veld.

Forensic experts had to use a bolt cutter to open the drum and remove the remains of the deceased.

The stench from the decomposed body filled the air as it was taken from the drum and placed into a body bag by forensics.

Residents who stay close to the scene said the drum must have been left at the veld during the early hours of yesterday morning.

“This drum was not here on Tuesday. We did not smell anything. The smell coming from that drum is unbearable, someone would have found it already if it was here on Tuesday,” a resident said.

A young man, who discovered the burnt body in the drum, said he was busy scavenging through the rubble in the veld when he smelled the stench.

“The drum was not standing upright, it was lying on the ground. I first tried to pick it up to empty it. It was very heavy and I picked it up and threw it down. The contents were however stuck inside and nothing fell out. I then picked up a rock and hit the top of the drum.

“The next moment a leg popped out. The first thing I saw was the back of the heel and the victim’s toes. I got a massive fright and ran away,” he said.

He went on to say that he informed a woman who was busy jogging past about the body.

“I saw a lady running and I called her and told her. We went down to the scene together to make sure that what I saw was indeed true.”

The woman, Uraka Mubita, said she had also noticed the bad stench.

“The stench was very strong. There were some older ladies who were walking through the veld and they told us that it was a dead dog. I went with the young man to the drum and peeped inside and could see the head of the deceased,” said Mubita.

“I jog along this road every morning and the drum was not lying here on Tuesday. I left home at about 5.40am to jog. I could smell the strong stench as I was approaching the scene. I saw the young man and he looked terrified. He told me about the drum and we went to look at it together,” she said.

“When I looked inside the drum, I told him that there was a human being inside. I went to the police station to report the matter. It was exactly 6.08am when I arrived at the police station. I did not want to return to the scene as I was too emotional. However, I decided to return in order to sort of make peace with the incident and get closure.”

Residents said it was the second time a body has been discovered in the veld.

“There was a body of a baby that was dumped here not so long ago. People are now using this veld as a dumping place for bodies. It is horrific that anyone can kill someone, force the body into a drum, set it alight and then dump it somewhere. How can one live with yourself after such an act? That is very cruel as the deceased was once someone’s brother or son or even husband.”

Galeshewe police spokesperson, Captain Bashaobile Kale, said that the police are investigating a case of murder.

“The Galeshewe police are investigating a case of murder following the discovery of a dead man by a passer-by yesterday morning. The deceased is a male and estimated to be in his mid-forties. The deceased has not yet not been identified as the body is badly burnt. The police are appealing to anyone with information regarding the incident to contact Detective Sergeant Matsoabane Motladi on 082 496 0546,” said Kale.