Honoured for student’s case
A police team has been recognised for cracking the investigation into the disappearance of University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana and tracking down her rapist and killer, Luyanda Botha.
Police Minister Bheki Cele handed over a Ministry Award to Western Cape detectives head Brigadier Vela Jerome Cele at the 7th SA Police Service National Excellence Awards in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
In November, Botha, 42, was sentenced to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to raping and killing Mrwetyana on 24 August, last year.
When the first-year student went missing in August, the case was assigned to Constable Goodwill Nkonki and he worked closely with Sergeant Lutchmee Chetty.
They established that Mrwetyana visited the Clareinch Post Office at around 2pm on 24 August and that she was last seen by Botha, who booked off sick.
Botha later admitted that he arranged to be alone with Mrwetyana in the locked post office that day by telling her a parcel was ready for collection.
When she did not respond to his sexual advances, he used a 2kg weight – used to weigh the packages received at the post office – to bludgeon her.
The next day, he put her body in a large post bag in his car. At a field in Lingelethu West, Khayelitsha, he dumped her body in a shallow hole before dousing it with petrol and setting it alight.
When the matter was reported to Claremont police, investigating officer Captain Craig Phillips and other detectives worked with Nkonki to figure out what had happened.
Cele formed a provincial team to assist the Claremont detectives task team and Botha became the primary suspect. The hunt for him began.
While driving around on 29 August, a police officer spotted Botha and detained him for questioning.
Botha later pointed out where he had dumped the teen’s body and he confessed. – News24 Wire