Mr Edwin Nndwambi's house was torched by community members, who accuse him of the murder of Ndishavhelafhi Pandelani. Inset: The late Ndishavhelafhi Pandelani's body was found in the Entabeni plantation a month after he went missing. Photos supplied.
The decomposed body of a man from Tshakhuma village, who went missing a month ago, was found in the Entabeni forestry plantations on Wednesday, 19 May.
Ndishavhelafhi Pandelani (48) disappeared on 18 April. He had told his family that he was going to collect money from a friend, Edwin Nndwambi, who lived at Dzananwa section at Tshakhuma. The family became worried when he did not return home. The whole community helped to search for him but could not find him, and he was reported a missing person.
Believing that his disappearance was connected to the spate of ritual murders in the area over the past few months, villagers from Tshakhuma went on a furious rampage on 28 April to show their outrage at the police for not making more effort in their search and investigations. Hundreds of youths barricaded the main road from Louis Trichardt to Thohoyandou at the Tshakhuma fruit market with rocks and branches and several vehicles were stoned in passing.
Pandelani’s body was found in the Entabeni plantation. The body was already at an advanced stage of decomposition. Limpopo police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo confirmed this. “We have opened an inquest docket and the results of the inquest will direct us on what to do. If there is any foul play, we will take it from there. We are continuing with investigations,” he said.
The local community members have now started pointing fingers at Pandelani’s friend, Nndwambi, as being responsible for his murder and went on another rampage, torching Nndwambi’s nine-room house and motor vehicle on Sunday, 23 May. Members of the Public Order Police in the area were deployed to quell the violence and cases of arson have been opened.
Pandelani’s death has caused a lot of distress for his family. Ms Florence Pandelani said that they had had sleepless nights ever since her brother had gone missing. “All we know now is that he is dead. We are convinced that he was murdered elsewhere and dumped at the plantation in order to conceal the evidence. His hands and legs were missing when they found the body. This really shocked the family and gives us reason to believe that it was a ritual murder,” Florence said. “Only the police can help solve this puzzle. All this time we’ve been searching for him, not knowing that he was already rotting!”
She said that her brother’s death had left her devastated. “I do not even know what will become of me now. He loved me and was my pillar of strength. Ndishavhelafhi was a quiet, good man who only spoke when he had something to say. He was always there when we needed him and did not deserve to die. Whoever killed him will face the wrath of God, because nobody has the right to kill another human being,” she said.
Nndwambi, whose house had been burned down by the community, refused to talk to the media.
Provincial Commissioner of the police in Limpopo Lieutenant-General Thembi Hadebe strongly condemned actions where communities take the law into their own hands.
Date:28 May 2021 - By: Kaizer Nengovhela
Kaizer Nengovhela started writing stories for Limpopo Mirror more than a decade ago, in 2 000. Prior to that he had a five year stint at Phala-Phala FM as sports presenter. In 2005 Kaizer received an award from the province's premier as Best Sports Presenter. The same year he was also nominated as Best Sports Reporter by the Makhado Municipality. Kaizer was awarded the Mathatha Tsedu award in 2014.