Man arrested in connection with disappearance of Uyinene Mrwetyana

31 August 2019 - 11:24 By Dan Meyer
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Uyinene Mrwetyana has been missing since Saturday.
Uyinene Mrwetyana has been missing since Saturday.

A 42-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana. 

"In the early hours of Friday morning, the team supported by Western Cape Flying Squad members arrested a 42-year-old suspect in Claremont," said Brig Novela Potelwa. "An extensive investigation is currently under way to determine the whereabouts of the missing person. All avenues are being looked into, including the place where she was last seen."

Police are set to interview the man to try to ascertain the whereabouts of the film and media student, who has been missing since Saturday last week.

Meanwhile, DNA tests and an autopsy are being performed on an unidentified body discovered in Lingelethu West, Khayelitsha, on August 26, Potelwa said.

Since Mrwetyana's disappearance a week ago, three private investigators have joined Western Cape police in the search for her.  

Private investigator Noel Pratten said that the Mrwetyana family were remaining strong in the midst of "the most unimaginable situation". 

"They are bearing up," he said. "It's the most terrible thing they've ever gone through.

"But these are the strongest people I've ever met. They are still hopeful."

He said that he was communicating with the other investigators who had been enlisted by UCT and Roscommon House, where Mrwetyana lives. He said that between them, they were following up on all available leads. 

UCT vice chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng said that every resource the university could offer was being utilised. 

"Many of us at the University of Cape Town (UCT) are deeply concerned by the disappearance of our student Ms Uyinene Mrwetyana," she said. "My colleagues and I are working closely with the family and all law enforcement authorities in the search for her. On Wednesday, August 28, the executive director for student affairs and I, accompanied by other university leaders, met with the family to express our concern and offer any support that we could."

Phakeng offered a new development in the case, saying that Mrwetyana was last seen at around 5pm on Saturday at a hair salon in Mowbray. Prior to this, TimesLIVE reported that she had been seen at the Clareinch post office a few hours earlier, collecting a parcel. 

"Ms Mrwetyana, a first-year student, was reportedly last seen on August 24 2019. She reportedly left Roscommon House, an off-campus residence in Claremont, around 14:00 and was then seen around 17:00 at or near a hair salon in Mowbray. Ms Mrwetyana is about 1.7 m tall and was last seen wearing brown pants and carrying a black handbag."

"At our meeting with the Mrwetyana family we updated them on all measures put in place and assured them that we are doing everything possible to ensure that Ms Mrwetyana – fondly known as Nene – is found."

With each passing day, Mrwetyana's friends become more and more concerned for her safety. 

Her friends held a night vigil for Mrwetyana at UCT on Wednesday, and have continued to use social media as a vehicle for their desperate search. 

The  arrested person is expected to appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

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