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Murdered Durban student Natasha Conabeer 'was being stalked'

09 September 2019 - 17:48 By Yasantha Naidoo and Suthentira Govender and Lwandile Bhengu
Durban student Natasha Conabeer died in hospital on Monday after being dropped off at her family home unconscious at the weekend.
Durban student Natasha Conabeer died in hospital on Monday after being dropped off at her family home unconscious at the weekend.
Image: Supplied

A week before she went missing in August, Durban student Natasha Conabeer sent one of her best friends a message saying that she was being stalked. 

Zamambo Mkhize, from Gauteng, who went to Inanda Seminary School with Conabeer, told TimesLIVE on Monday that her "best friend since school" sent her the message via WhatsApp a week before she was last seen on August 18.  Conabeer died in hospital on Monday. 

In the message to Mkhize, Conabeer said it was complicated as "someone was following her almost 24/7". She hinted that she couldn't disclose some information "until all this goes away, for my loved ones [sic] protection". Conabeer thanked her friend for her love and concern.

Mkhize realised that Conabeer could not reveal too much information and responded that she wouldn't ask her the details of who was stalking her or why.

A week later, Conabeer disappeared. Earlier that day, she had messaged a friend with whom she was staying near Morningside that she was going to her family home in Inanda. But she never made it to her mother Rosemary's home.

Mkhize, who was part of a team that posted a missing person's alert for Conabeer on social media, said she last heard from her on August 21. 

"Her mom confirmed that she was left outside her home in Inanda, unconscious. She was taken to hospital and admitted to ICU," said Mkhize. 

She said she wasn't sure which hospital Conabeer was admitted to, but on Monday was told that she had succumbed to her injuries. 

Conabeer's traumatised mother told TimesLIVE that the family would elect a spokesperson to deal with queries. 

Police spokesperson Lt-Col Thulani Zwane said an inquest docket had been opened at Durban North police station.

"We will wait for postmortem results to determine the cause of death," he said.

Zwane added that the docket had been opened because Cornabeer "had no visible injuries".

Mkhize said Conabeer did not tell her that she was in a relationship, but she believed that whoever was responsible for taking her knew her. "How else would that person know where she lived to drop her off at her home in Inanda?" she said.

On Monday, the University of KwaZulu-Natal confirmed that Conabeer was not enrolled at their institution.

"The university community is shocked and deeply saddened by the untimely death of the late Natasha Conabeer and we extend our sincere condolences to her family at this difficult time," said UKZN's executive director of corporate relations, Ashton Bodrick.

"Though the late Ms Conabeer applied to us in 2014, sadly she never followed through to formally register at the university. This, however, does not diminish the outrage we feel as the UKZN community that is primarily made up of young people like her." 

Jarrod Evans of the Florida Road Urban Improvement Precinct said access to footage from the municipal camera between Florida and Gordon roads would have to be done by the police through the city's disaster management department.

"A number of establishments have cameras, which may view the public space on Florida Road. However, I am unaware if SAPS have made contact with business/property owners directly," said Evans.

Meanwhile, another Durban woman, Sithembile Ncwane - who was found alive a day after she was kidnapped on Friday - has been discharged from hospital.

Ncwane, 23, from KwaDabeka, disappeared minutes after texting her mother that she was being followed by a car, prompting a police search.

She was later dropped off by her kidnappers and taken to hospital to be treated for the injuries she suffered.

Zwane confirmed that Ncwane had been discharged on Monday. "Investigations are continuing," he told TimesLIVE.