Gauteng police are investigating four cases of murder after young women were found dead in open velds in Soweto over the weekend. One of the women was set alight.
The body of Popi Qwabe, 24, was found in Naledi on Friday, while that of her friend Bongeka Phungula, 28, was found in neighbouring Tladi on Saturday. In another incident, the body of Lerato Moloi was also found in Naledi on Sunday.
A fourth, unidentified body was found at a dumping site in Mofolo, also on Sunday.
Police have now set up a task team comprising 16 detectives to probe the spate of killings of women in Gauteng.
The task team was established to deal with crimes against women including a spate of robberies, rapes and kidnappings that happened recently in Soweto.
Gauteng police commissioner Major-General Deliwe de Lange said yesterday: “We strongly condemn the attacks on women. The number of women attacked is unacceptably high, hence we appeal to women to always write down a registration number of any car they board and send it to any family member for safety reasons,” she said.
Captain Mavela Masondo said the fourth body was burnt beyond recognition. “It is alleged that people who were at a dumping site came across the body and alerted the police. Our preliminary forensic investigation revealed that it is a body of a female” he said.
Masondo said they have arrested two people in connection with Moloi’s murder.
He said Moloi’s body was found half-naked and that she could have been raped. “Two suspects were arrested on Monday. The suspects will be appearing in the Protea Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday [today]. The motive for the murder is still unknown.” Masondo said the bodies of Phungula and Qwabe have been identified by family members. No arrests have been made .
According to Phungula’s Facebook page, that was last updated on April 3, she studied television, drama and production at the Durban University of Technology. She came from Durban and went to Bechet High School in Berea, Durban.
Muvhango creator Duma ka Ndlovu described Phungula as a quiet person. Ndlovu said she was a member of his academy, DNA.
“As the 2017 class of DNA we would like to wish the family our sincere condolences. Just two weeks ago, Bongeka performed a brilliant scene in class with a classmate and got accolades … We will always remember and miss her quiet resolve, she always sat back and did not raise her hand a lot but when she had to deliver a monologue she rose to the occasion.”
The latest deaths of the women have been met with outrage on social media sites after the harrowing death of Karabo Mokoena, allegedly at the hands of her boyfriend.
Phumla Msibi? @Phee_msibi tweeted: To think we were with you at work on friday then monday we receive such terrible news i hope your soul finds peace love #RIPPopiQwabe
Omphile AKA Bra Phix? @Umphi_tweeted: May their souls find an everlasting peace. TheGriffin? @iTheGriffin: RIP sweet Angel. Too distraught and utterly drained by this incessant killing of our women, sisters & mothers. Too much #BongekaPhungula
TiaraRay? @SydenhamStekkie:#heartbreaking tweeted: #RIP #PopiQwabe and #BongekaPhungula When will the senseless murder of women and children end!!