Cop’s mystery death is ‘painful and mischief’

Residents were shocked to learn that the young woman whose body was found in their community was a police officer

The Mathe family are reeling in shock and disbelief after their daughter, Constable Asavela Mathe, who had been stationed at Samora Machel police station, was found dead in Mfuleni, at Extension 4, in the early hours of Sunday October 1.

The 29-year-old police officer, had accompanied her friend, who is also a police officer, on a social visit.

Details of what happened are not clear but Constable Mathe’s friend says she and other residents found her body in the street at 5am, when she stepped out of the house where they were socialising to e-hail a taxi.

Constable Mathe’s elder sister, Nompendulo Mathe, described her sister’s death as a mystery and said the family have more questions than answers. She said they were confused because Constable Mathe had no wounds or outward signs of injury and the family hoped the post mortem would tell them how her sister had died.

‘’I cannot tell you how painful her death is, especially how she was killed. It is so sad that her life was just cut short like that,“ she said.

“We knew that her job put her life on the line and even though it would not be easy to accept that but we knew it was part of the job but what hurts most is that she was killed while having fun and not working. We are still asking ourselves a lot of questions; how was she killed? Why was she killed? We are traumatised.

Ms Mathe said her sister was extremely passionate about her work and she had ambitions of growing within the police force. She described her sister as a people’s person who had been with SAPS since 2019.

“She had more to offer and I’m struggling to find the right words to describe how I feel about her death,” she said.

Police spokesperson, captain, Andrè Traut, said: “The policewoman who was attached to Samora Machel SAPS had allegedly been out with a friend visiting acquaintances in the area when the incident occurred. Mfuleni police were alerted to an unknown body that was discovered in Malgas camp, Extension 4, Mfuleni, in the early hours of Sunday morning.”

Police discovered that the woman who had died was one of their own during investigation, he said.

“A 30-year-old suspect was subsequently arrested by Mfuleni police. Further investigations about the circumstances that led to her death are the subject of an investigation that has since been undertaken by the Western Cape DPCI (Hawks) investigators,” he said.

Police Minister Bheki Cele and national police commissioner Fannie Masemola visited the families of two Cape Town police officers who were killed at the weekend, including the Mathe family.

The police’s top brass also visited the family of Warrant Officer Lindela Mraqisa who was one of Deputy Police Minister Cassel Mathale’s bodyguards.

Mr Cele said Constable Mathe died in a “nasty year”. He said she had been staying in the barracks and the circumstances of her death sounds “painful and mischief”.