Cape Town - The man expected to appear in the East London Magistrate’s Court today for the murder of Fort Hare University law student Nosicelo Mtebeni, allegedly confessed that he killed her because she was “cheating on him”.
This emerged while the devastated Mtebeni family visited the scene in Quigney, on Sunday, where their daughter was killed and dismembered, allegedly, by her boyfriend.
Mtebeni’s body was stuffed in a suitcase that was discovered about 100m from her house, on Thursday, after police were alerted by a passer-by.
The 23-year-old’s head and hands that were dismembered were left inside the house in plastic bags, while the bag was dumped on the pavement.
“While at the scene, police received information that a 25-year-old suspect believed to be linked to the murder was found and immediately arrested. On further investigation, which led the police to the house where the two lived, a plastic bag with other parts of the body was also discovered,” said provincial police Thembinkosi Kinana.
Mtebeni and the suspect had been living together for seven months, said caretaker of the house Phumeza Qwabe.
“When he was questioned after the discovery of the body, he said he killed her because she was cheating. Fellow tenants said they heard a loud music on Tuesday night and I think that’s when she was killed. The boyfriend was also seen carrying a toolbox on Tuesday night, which it has now transpired that he used it in order to chop her,” said Qwabe.
The horrific murder has shocked residents, in particular Fort Hare students. They have been holding evening prayers from the scene where the body was discovered.
At the scene on Sunday, family members and government officials laid flowers.
In Mtebeni’s honour, Fort Hare University’s executive committee decided to declare Wednesday, August 25, an official day of mourning, with all university activities suspended for the day.
The university’s vice-chancellor, Prof Sakhela Buhlungu, said: “We are in utter shock following the devastating news about the death of Ms Nosicelo Mtebeni. It is a very dark day in the history of our University. We are left to carry the memory of Nosicelo by fighting gender-based violence in all its forms.
“A memorial service for Ms Mtebeni will be held in East London, with observance of all the Covid-19 regulations. The memorial service will also be live-streamed,” Buhlungu said.
“We have never seen or experienced anything of this kind, in this university and in this country. On behalf of the university we condemn the brutality of this student’s death. Nobody deserves to die, more so, nobody deserves to die in this horrific manner. This death is very personal to the university. We feel it very deeply. We will be working with the family regarding the funeral arrangements,” said Buhlungu.
Matatiele Local Municipality mayor Momelezi Mbedla, who visited the Mtebeni family at Khaoue, in Matatiele, on Saturday, said they will work with the family during this difficult time.
Mbedla is also the spokesperson of the family.
"During Women's Month, we strongly condemn this act. We are saddened by the passing of Nosicelo. This family has requested privacy to deal with this. We also appeal to people to stop sharing pictures of the [dismembered] body of Nosicelo,” he said.
Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane, who met with the family yesterday, said: “It is particularly heart-breaking to think that this young woman’s parents and family had sent her off to study to become a productive citizen to serve our nation.
“I have no doubt that they were expecting much from her given their investment in her, fully appreciative of the fact that for many working class and poor families, this is a mammoth sacrifice in anticipation of positive yields from that young person one day,” said Mabuyane.
“That her young promising life is said to have been so cruelly snuffed out by no less than the one person who was obligated to protect her, her alleged lover, as we have learnt from the police, is difficult to fathom at best,” said Mabuyane.