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PODCAST | Justice for Kopano — listen to the full series

An investigation into the death of 10-year-old Kopano Molelekedi and the cold case against her killer

31 December 2021 - 08:10 By Paige Muller and Alex Patrick
Kopano's mother Orapaleng Molelekedi, stepfather Izaac Moiloa and younger siblings Kgothatso and Kamogelo are still struggling to adapt to life without her. File photo.
Kopano's mother Orapaleng Molelekedi, stepfather Izaac Moiloa and younger siblings Kgothatso and Kamogelo are still struggling to adapt to life without her. File photo.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

Kopano Molelekedi was hit by a speeding car on the busy Albertina Sisulu Road in Florida, Roodepoort, on September 6 2018. She was crossing the road to her home in Jerusalema informal settlement.

The driver of the vehicle took her to Pennyville Park in Soweto, where she died at Noordgesig Clinic.

Despite witnesses who are able to describe the man and his car and despite people taking photos of the event, the police said they have no suspects in Kopano’s death. Sunday Times journalist Alex Patrick and podcast producer Paige Muller investigate the case.

A photograph of Kopano Molelekedi taken when she graduated to grade 5 at Durban Deep Primary School in 2017. Her family couldn't afford to print many images of her and didn't expect photos would be the only thing left of her.
A photograph of Kopano Molelekedi taken when she graduated to grade 5 at Durban Deep Primary School in 2017. Her family couldn't afford to print many images of her and didn't expect photos would be the only thing left of her.
Image: Supplied by the family

For five days, 10-year-old Kopano lay in a morgue in Soweto as a girl with no name.

Just 15km away, a family was frantically searching for their child, who never made it to her mother’s home in Jerusalema.

Finally, a family member working at Noordgesig Clinic made the connection when she saw a description of the missing girl. Kopano was found in the mortuary at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.

But it was just the start of a nightmare for her family. 

Of all the injustices in the case of a 10-year-old girl struck by a motorist, abducted and dumped in a field far from home, perhaps the biggest is the lacklustre investigation into her death by the police.

From claims her mother Orapaleng was not allowed to open a missing person’s case to not following up with witnesses who saw the incident, law enforcement plays an important role in the lives of those who lost their little girl.

It was only when the Sunday Times began asking questions that the family received its first visit from the police. That was on March 26 2020, the day before the start of the national Covid-19 lockdown.

Kopano died on September 2 2018. It’s safe to say they have heard nothing since.

LISTEN | All five episodes are listed below:

Follow the movements on that fateful morning on the map below to understand better why this case doesn’t add up and how a crime with so many witnesses has gone unpunished.

In January 2020 the Sunday Times eventually managed to track down the family of Kopano Molelekedi, the little girl who was hit by a car, abducted and left for dead in Pennyville Park. Listen to the podcast series here: https://iono.fm/c/6043 Find this story and more on http://sundaytimes.co.za

This five-part investigative series is a collaboration between the Sunday Times and TimesLIVE Podcasts after a two-year investigation that remains unresolved.  


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