Was Karabo Mokoena’s death a ritual sacrifice as police believe or was is it suicide as her murder-accused ex-boyfriend claims? 23 year-old Karabo’s brutal murder in April brought more attention to the painful discussion of the abuse of women across South Africa. Her ex-boyfriend, Sandile Mantsoe, stands accused of her murder but has hit back, claiming that when he made his statement he was threatened and that Karabo actually committed suicide. Karabo was last seen on April 27 and her body was found two days later, burned and buried in a shallow grave in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg.
Mantsoe was later arrested and charged with her murder and according to police reports, he confessed to the murder. According to investigating officer Captain Phillip Radebe’s testimony made on May 24, Mantsoe was the last person to be seen with Karabo.
On April 27 they were seen entering his home at Sandton Skye Apartments. Radebe also told the court that after Mantsoe’s arrest he confessed to murdering Karabo and that he took her body to a field where he set it alight after dousing it with petrol and swimming pool acid. However, Mantsoe told the court a different account of what happened to Karabo. On Friday, June 23, Mantsoe’s new legal representative, Victor Simelane, read his client’s replying affidavit in the Johannesburg High Court. Mantsoe claims that he was threatened into writing his statement by an unidentified policewoman when he was detained at the Sandton police station. In his affidavit, he said that he was made to write out his statement three times and the woman made threats to him saying she would call on other male detectives, who would assault him. “No rights were read to me, even when I was told to make a statement, and I still deny telling police that I didn’t know where the body was. I told them everything after they threatened me,” Mantsoe said in his replying affidavit. Mantsoe also denied claims that he had introduced the deceased to a ritual where they mixed blood to bond and to also ensure that his Forex business would succeed.
According to Radebe, the accused believed he had been jinxed after his break-up with accused as his business was failing. Mantsoe’s version of the story is that he found her already dead in his apartment when he returned to his flat for a few hours on April 28, but insists that he didn’t kill her. “I went back to my apartment on or around 5.30 to 6 pm. On arrival, I found Karabo on the carpet lying there motionless. I checked for a pulse but there was none, she was gone,” read his statement. He further adds that panic and fear is what made him burn her body as he was already being painted as an abusive boyfriend.
“I know I could have called the police but I could not think straight. Karabo had been suicidal for a while.
A couple of weeks back, she tried to commit suicide by taking a lot of pills but she was saved by me and the security guard who opened the apartment.”
Mantsoe is expected back in court on June 30 when his bail application continues.