WE’LL NEVER HAVE CLOSURE
The mother of a murdered Gauteng woman shares her pain at not knowing what her daughter’s last moments were like, and finding her body a year after she disappeared
FOR 351 days, she prayed, pleaded and lived with hope that her missing daughter would be found alive. Every time a young woman was found dead, she prayed this wouldn’t be the day she was told it was her own child. But Gloria Sibuye’s hope turned to grief when she heard her daughter Linda Matati’s body had been found half-naked in an open veld in Bronkhorstspruit in Mpumalanga.
The 23-year-old is believed to have been a victim of one of South Africa’s most wanted men, Thabo Happy Mosia, who now faces charges of kidnapping, rape and murder.
Gloria (42) identified her daughter by the bodysuit she was wearing on 25 September, almost a year after she went missing on 9 October 2016. The body has been in the mortuary for almost a year.
It’s been a tough time, the grieving mother says, but she’s still standing. “I’m relieved. I cried a lot when I saw her body in the mortuary. I’m hurting but I thank God we found her so we can bury her and have closure.
“It was by the grace of God that we found her,” she tells DRUM.
Sitting in the bedroom with her mother, Emily Matati (70), in Migson Manor in Johannesburg, Gloria opens a shoebox filled with her child’s pictures and looks at them for a moment.
She’s always going to miss her daughter, she says, looking at the four candles in the family’s grieving room.
“I will always miss her smile, her warmth and how she always cared for all the people who were close to her,” she says.
Linda grew up in the same house the family is now mourning her in, but she moved to Vanderbijlpark over a year ago. She rented an apartment in the area because she wanted to be close to her job at SBV Services, a company that transports cash for commercial banks, retail chains, wholesalers and any business that handles bulk cash.
It’s believed she’d refused to give her kidnapper details about SBV Services, and this is what led to her untimely death.
Gloria – who lives with her other two children, Mthunzi (11) and Nhlamulo (8), in Mpumalanga – spent most of the year travelling to and from Gauteng in search of her daughter.
She just wanted to know what happened to Linda and wouldn’t rest until she had answers, she says.
“I feel her presence very strongly. I often sense her watching me. Perhaps her spirit radiates in the house.”
THE wanted Mosia was arrested in March, five months after Linda was allegedly seen in his company. Linda had been with her best friend, identified only as Yvonne in court, and they’d separated when she was chased out of the car by Thabo, Yvonne said when she testified at his bail hearing.
That was the last time Linda was seen alive. Mosia was first arrested in 2011 in connection with four cash-in-transit heists that took place between March 2005 and August 2006, as well other crimes. He wasn’t charged at the time.
A month before his recent arrest, the Asset Forfeiture Unit seized Mosia’s assets, including two houses, one of which is valued at R1,2 million at Liefde en Vrede, south of Joburg.
He’d also bought his mother, a social grant recipient, a house cash. He was denied bail in March, and is due to stand trial for Linda’s murder this month.
National Prosecuting Authority ( NPA) spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwana says they’re trying to trace all the cases Mosia has been linked to and reinstate them, some of which have disappeared. They have a strong case against him, the NPA says.
Gloria hopes the accused will tell her the truth about her daughter’s last moments, including some of the details that emerged during his bail hearing.
A state witness told police the last time he saw Linda she was bruised and motionless.
“The trial starts on 13 October – four days and one year after my daughter disappeared,” Gloria says, grief clear in her voice.
She believes Linda had met Mosia for the first time at the party. “I suspect he wanted some information from Linda and she wouldn’t give it to him.”
THIS wasn’t the first time Gloria had to identify a body in the year her daughter has been missing. When the accused was first arrested, he allegedly told the police he’d dumped the body on the N12 highway on the East Rand, but when DNA tests were done it was found that it wasn’t Linda.
‘’The police found a body of a young woman on the N12. Even when they were doing DNA tests I knew it wasn’t my child because I believed she was still alive,’’ Gloria says.
Her hopes were also kept alive by SMSes and calls she received from various numbers claiming to have seen Linda around Joburg.
She only truly believed Linda was dead on the day she identified the body.
She has a hard time coming to terms with the fact her firstborn, who was studying accounting through Unisa, is gone.
She says Linda was a hardworking and ambitious child who told her she wanted to have her own financial consultant business before she turned 30.
She always spoilt her mom and siblings, Gloria recalls. On the day she went missing, she took the family to the mall where she bought her brothers clothes and entertained them.
“We came back from the mall and she told me she was going with a friend to a party at Migson Manor, not far from her grandmother’s house.
“I didn’t want her to go, but she told
’I couldn’t sleep at night. I was thinking about my daughter’
me she would be okay,” Gloria says.
When her daughter didn’t come back from the party she started actively looking for her. “I called her and she didn’t answer her cellphone.
“She wasn’t the kind of child who slept out without telling me or her grandmother and she always answered her cellphone.
“I decided to drive back six hours from the village to Migson Manor. I approached my daughter’s friend and she told me (Thabo) Mosia offered to give my daughter a lift home from the party about 2am.’’
She found him in Ennerdale and asked him where her daughter was. “I said to him, ‘If you’ve killed her tell me where you’ve dumped her body because I want to bury her’. He just looked at me and laughed.”
This was when she decided to open a missing person’s case, and five months later Thabo was arrested.
Now that Linda’s body has been positively identified, she just wants justice, Gloria says. And once her killer is sentenced, she might be able to sleep at night.
“I couldn’t sleep at night. I was thinking about my daughter.”
LEFT: Gloria Sibuye and her mother Emily Matati are mourning the loss of Gloria’s kind and generous daughter, Linda Matati (BELOW). She was last seen with suspect Thabo Mosia (FAR LEFT), who will soon stand trial for her murder.