Woman necklaced – alleged killer was out on bail for rape
Promise Mthembu can't get the graphic image of her sister-in-law Nompumelelo Mthembu's body engulfed in flames or her harrowing screams out of her head.
Mthembu‚ died in hospital on Saturday‚ where she was being treated for burn wounds after a tyre was placed around her neck and she was doused with petrol and set alight last Tuesday.
The horrific death of the mother of three - a 5-year old‚ 4-year old and four-month old baby - in Nongoma in northern KwaZulu-Natal comes two months after a knobkerrie was allegedly shoved into her private parts during another harrowing assault in March.
Both incidents were allegedly at the hands of the father of her three children. He was charged with rape and released on bail.
Mthembu’s sister-in-law‚ Promise Mthembu‚ 43‚ told TimesLIVE on Thursday that the family had taken the mother of three and her children to her home at KwaKhangelamankengane in Nongoma.
She recounted the events preceding the attack‚ saying she and Mthembu were preparing to go to collect the children’s social grant when Mthembu had gone to a river to collect water.
“There were people who were doing the washing there and she was going with her three-year-old child. She had already put the bucket full of water on her head when she was surprised from behind‚” said Promise.
She said she had then seen people rushing towards the river and heard what sounded like Mthembu’s cries for help and had also rushed there to see what was going on.
“By that time she was engulfed by flames all over her body and she rushed into the river to try and douse the flames with water."
Promise said she was hit with a boulder even when she was in the water.
She said people who were around had managed to pull out her badly burnt sister-in-law from the water and rushed her to a local clinic where she was later transferred to hospital.
The woman said the man had threatened the family‚ who were now afraid for their lives.
“We don’t know what is going to happen after the funeral on Saturday. We’re not safe."
Police spokesman Captain Nqobile Gwala said a case of murder had been opened against her ex-lover. She said that he was due to appear in the Nongoma Magistrate’s Court on Thursday for the rape case. The assault and death follows the murder of 21-year-old Zolile Khumalo from Eshowe by her former boyfriend‚ Thabani Mzolo‚ 23‚ who shot and killed her at a student residence in central Durban last week.