Pheliswa ’Dolly’ Sawutana was recently strangled to death with shoelaces, just days after Nosicelo Mtebeni was murdered and dismembered.
Cape Town – “I don’t know what you are talking about, please don’t kill me, forgive me, please.”
These were the last words people heard 32-year-old mom of five Pheliswa “Dolly” Sawutana crying out before she was strangled to death with shoelaces, in the Cossovo informal settlement, in Samora Machel.
Her murder came at a time that South Africans were reeling from the killing of University of Fort Hare student Nosicelo Mtebeni, 23, in East London, last Thursday.
Mtebeni’s body was found by a passer-by, in a suitcase, at the corner of Fleet and Fitzpatrick streets, in Quigney.
Her body was also chopped into pieces at a nearby house, and her other body parts were found in the house where her boyfriend Alutha Pasile, 25, was immediately arrested, following the gruesome discovery.
Pasile has confessed to the murder, the State said on Monday, as hundreds of students marched to the Eastern London Magistrate’s Court, where he briefly appeared and abandoned his bail bid.
Sawutana’s older sister Thandokazi said the family was shocked and devastated.
“The incident happened on Friday, at about midnight, but – as the family – we received a call at around 5am to identify the body.
“When I got to the scene, she had bruises and she was strangled with shoe laces because next to her there were tied shoe laces and she had a mark on the neck which showed that she was strangled.
“She also had bruises on her body, including on the arms and on legs.
“Those who heard her crying said that her last words were: ‘I don’t know what you are talking about, please don’t kill me, forgive me, please’. We did not expect her to die so brutally and I never thought a person would do such a thing to her. She was with us three days before the incident, she was in a good mood and she did not tell us if anything was bothering her,” said Thandokazi.
Thandokazi described her sister as a friendly person.
“We are waiting for the police regarding the arrest of the suspect and, hopefully, they will be able to find fingerprints,” said Thandokazi.
Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi said: “Samora Machel police are investigating a case of murder. Police members responded to a complaint on Saturday at about 6.40am and drove to Cossovo informal settlement. Upon arrival at the scene, they found the body of a 32-year-old female, who sustained injuries to her face. The victim was declared deceased on the scene by the medical personnel.”
Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in the Eastern Cape has indicated that it had a water-tight case against Pasile, who is scheduled to appear in court again, on September 28.
NPA regional spokesperson Anelisa Ngcakani said: “We have a confession, a detailed one, about this matter from him and he is making all kinds of allegations in the confession. The argument is that he suspected that she was cheating.
“We have a strong case. We have witnesses. One of the witnesses allegedly saw him carrying a (suitcase) which contained the body parts.”
Wearing a black attire and calling for justice for the Matatiele born Mtebeni, Fort Hare’s students, joined by women’s rights activists, marched ahead of Pasile’s court appearance.
Yanga Mnikina, the treasurer general of the University of Fort Hare’s Institutional Student Representative Council said the murder has left them fearing for their lives.
“It’s saddening to see a young female being killed in such a manner. She had a bright future ahead of her. We now feel like our lives do not matter. Our rights do not matter anymore. Every now and then, there is a woman killed and this is because men do not fear the justice system,” said Mnikina.
Dr Lesley Ann Foster, an executive director at Masimanyane Women’s Rights International, said institutions and systems have failed women.
“We want to blame the women, we want to put guilt and shame onto women, but it’s not them,” said Foster.
A memorial service for Mtebeni is planned for tomorrow in East London.