Girl beaten to death with electric cable
A FIFTEEN-year-old Delft schoolgirl was beaten to death with an electric cord, allegedly by a relative angry that she had skipped school.
Ncebakazi Poleki, a Grade 8 pupil at Leiden High School, was just days short of her 16th birthday when she became another casualty in South African’s shocking child murder statistics.
Horrified neighbours and friends claimed the man constantly beat Ncebakazi. At times the youngster was beaten so badly she stayed out of school, too embarrassed and afraid to let anyone know of her ordeal.
Her principal and several teachers said she always wore a smile so they thought nothing of the bruises she sometimes had on her arms, or the scar left on her pretty face.
However, behind that smile was a scared girl too afraid to ask for help.
Yesterday, Captain Joe Wilson said that at 11pm on Thursday police were called to a scene at Homtini Street, Leiden, where they found the teenager’s body.
“It is alleged that an argument occurred between her and the man because he found out that she had been missing school. He then beat her with a piece of electric wire.
“Preliminary investigations indicated the deceased died from the beating. He was arrested and charged with murder.”
He said an investigation was in progress and an autopsy was being done. The suspect would appear in the Bellville Magistrate Court on Monday.
Yesterday, when the Weekend Argus went to Delft, the family was in mourning and the teenager’s mother refused to talk. Neighbours alleged the man often had violent outbursts, got drunk and hit Ncebakazi.
A neighbour said she was a good child. “This is a terrible thing. We are all to blame. Her mother is also to blame. The child died at 9pm and they only called the police hours later. We saw him hit her almost every day. In June he beat Ncebakazi so badly he gave her a blue eye and she couldn’t go to school for a couple of days.
“I can’t explain how bad I feel. I blame myself. I should have gone to the police. We are all afraid of him because he was often violent and drank a lot. He did terrible things to her.”
School principal Haido Mteto said they were “devastated”. He had sent a letter with another pupil to her parents to find out why she had so often missed school.
“She was a good pupil. She always had a smile on her face so I thought nothing of the scar left from a cut across her face.”
He said he had a meeting with a relative on Thursday. “I wanted to try to understand why she missed school so often.”
He then fetched Ncebakazi from a school soccer match she was playing in at another school. “That was the last time we saw her.”
Her Grade 8 teacher, Skway Ludonga, said the classmate who delivered the letter to Ncebakazi’s parents became emotional on hearing of the murder. “I had to console her after she started crying in class. She feels like she is to blame. She said that if she hadn’t delivered the letter, then Ncebakazi would still be alive.”
A close school friend said Ncebakazi was very scared of the man. She sometimes complained about the abuse. “He did other things to her too. I always told her that she would have no future if she stayed in that house. Now she is dead.”
Her soccer coach, Afrika Tshona, said he had seen “bruises and scratches” on her arms at soccer practice. But when he asked her if something was wrong she would reply with a smile “that it was a long story”.
“Her death has got me wondering how many other children are being abused at this school and how we get them to open up to us.
“We are all very sad. On Thursday she was laughing and talking to us. Little did we know it would be the last time we would see her.”
Close to 1 500 children were murdered last year and 1 630 the year before. These were the startling statistics released this week as National Women’s Month, which highlights abuse against women and children, draws to an end. They were put before Parliament’s women, youth, children and people with disabilities portfolio committee when the police and non-profit organisation Childline addressed the committee.