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Rendani Malakha

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TSHIKWARANI, VHEMBE: Slow Tshilwavhusiku police reaction has been blamed for the death of a 20-year-old Tshiungulela Grade10 learner.  Lufuno Madume (25) allegedly stabbed Tuwani Fhetani to death at his home while police officers allegedly dragged their feet outside the house. The incident happened on 9 January at Tshikwarani village.

Provincial spokesman for the police, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, confirms that there was gross negligence on the part of the members of the SAPS at Tshilwavhusiku, who attended to the complaint: "As such, we have resorted to take serious departmental steps against them and the process is underway,” said Mulaudzi.

“No stone will be left unturned to get to the bottom of the matter.” Madume's mother told Rise 'n Shine that she notified the Tshilwavhusiku police station about the girl who was being abused by her son in her home. She alleged that her phone calls went unanswered throughout the night: “and when they finally answered in the morning, they (police) could only arrive at about 8:30am.”

According to the deceased's aunt Rebecca Raphulu, people who were at the nearby SASSA re-registration site said that they heard the noise of someone screaming and came to observe. The police arrived late and called Madume who immediately came out still wearing his underwear. Instead of arresting him, they informed him about the appointment he and Tuwani had with the social worker who had to finalise the matter between them.” Continues Raphulu: “Madume ignored the police and soon Tuwani was heard screaming for help from inside the accused's room. When the police finally forced the door open, they found Tuwani lifeless body lying on the floor naked while Madume still had the knife in his hand.”

Rise 'n Shine learnt that Madume had been served with a protection order on 8 January. A traditional leader attached to the Kutama Traditional Authority, Mr Ludwik Mahuwa, confirms to have delivered the protection order to Madume: “Police were too slow to act on this case. They should have arrested the suspect straightaway instead of telling him about the appointment with a social worker. They had information that he abused the poor child all night.”

The deceased's mother Ms Maria Mathegu explained how the young girl had always complained about the suspect's negative behaviour towards her: “On 25 December last year, we heard from young children that lidyavhathu (as Madume is known in the community) forced Tuwani to go with him and raped her in the bushes. But I thought it would end there. Now he has killed my child.”

Tuwani was laid to rest at Tshikwarani cemetery. Madume appeared again in the Tshilwavhusiku Magistrate's Court on Wednesday 30 January. He remains in custody.