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

DRUM - - News - BY KAIZER NG­WENYA PIC­TURES: FANI MAHUNTSI

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.

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