The community of Qanduqandu in Khayelitsha have been left devastated by the discovery the decomposing body of a woman who was found buried inside her shack – almost three months after she went missing.
The rotting body of Xoliswa Thamba, 25, was found by residents after she was allegedly killed by her spouse, who died after apparently poisoning himself.
According to close relatives and neighbours, the man had been living in the house with the body of his wife since March 26. Her decomposed body was found in a shallow grave inside the shack, right at the door.
Police were called to exhume the body last Friday.
Family member Nosiphelele Dyonasi, 32, said the couple had not been working and used to have meals with them. She said Thursday March 26 was the last time they saw the deceased.
Ms Dyonasi said she questioned the husband several times about her disappearance but he assured her that she was at her home in Site C.
However, she said, she questioned the husband’s responses to her questioning.
“The first day he told me she was at the clinic but it was strange because it was during lockdown and there were no taxis. I later asked him and he still said she probably was delayed at the hospital.
“That was strange because it was very late,” she said.
“The next day he told me she went home to Site C and I lived with that. The problem with her, she never had a phone so I could not call her.”
She said not only the family but the whole community were deeply shocked and hurt as the deceased was well known in the area.
“She was a very nice person, a very humble person who we all so loved. I loved her and her husband, that is why we supported them in difficult times,” she told Vukani.
She said the husband died of poisoning weeks after the wife disappeared.
“We assume that his conscience was talking to him. He probably could not stand what he did. How do you live in a house knowing very well that you buried somebody, a close friend and your wife, the mother to your only child?,” she asked.
Community member and a local leader, Zolela Xapa, said the community went out searching for the deceased after hearing that she was not in Site C or in the Eastern Cape as the husband had told many people.
Ms Xapa condemned the incident and appealed to residents to look out for each other at all times.
She said while incidents like these are rare there was a similar case where a little girl was found dead in a shack too.
Councillor Thando Pimpi also denounced the incident and urged residents to know their neighbours.
Mr Pimpi said he is approaching the City of Cape Town to have all the unoccupied shacks removed.
He said he is still talking to the residents about the issue. “But we need to remove all the shacks that are standing unoccupied.
“These structures are dangerous to the community.
We can’t relax when things like this happen. We also need to fight gender-based violence and condemn it,” said Mr Pimpi.
Khayelitsha police communications officer, Constable Lowellan West, said according to the information he had, the deceased was last seen on March 26 and reported as missing on May 5.
He said the deceased’s husband was reported to have allegedly committed suicide. “The family started digging in the shack and found a partly decomposed body wrapped in a blanket.
“The body and was positively identified to be that of Xoliswa Thamba,” he said.
Constable West said further investigations will be conducted to determine the cause of her death.