Drown­ing blamed on daugh­ter


A DIS­ABLED grand­mother was al­legedly drowned by her daugh­ter while her four-year-old grand­son looked on.

Fifty-four-year-old Re­filwe Mon­amodi’s body was found float­ing face up in her swim­ming pool in Kempton Park, on the East Rand, at the week­end.

Her 33-year-old daugh­ter was ar­rested only a few hours later at a shop­ping cen­tre close to her mother’s Glen Marais home on Sun­day. She will ap­pear in the Kempton Park Mag­is­trate’s Court to­day, ac­cord­ing to po­lice spokesman Cap­tain Jethro Mt­shali.

The al­le­ga­tion of mur­der has once again put the abuse of the el­derly and dis­abled in the spot- light. One NGO has warned that there is huge un­der-re­port­ing of such in­ci­dents be­cause vic­tim­i­sa­tion is feared.

The dead wo­man, an ad­vo­cate, was par­tially dis­abled in a car ac­ci­dent in 2002.

Her body was found by her sis­ter, Agnes Mon­amodi.

Agnes Mon­amodi said prob­lems started be­tween mother and daugh­ter when the daugh­ter left her job.

“She got Nigerian friends and her life started to un­ravel. I used to come here ev­ery se­cond month to re­solve their con­flicts. At times I would find my sis­ter had been as­saulted and left with black eyes.”

Mon­amodi said she would usu­ally take her sis­ter away from the house to defuse the sit­u­a­tion but Re­filwe would al­ways go back.

She said a num­ber of com­plaints to the po­lice had been made by her sis­ter against her niece.

“They fought over bank cards. The daugh­ter would de­mand that her mother al­low her to with­draw funds. The daugh­ter had ev­ery­thing. She drove her mother’s two cars and had a sta­ble home but she still wanted money.”

She said that in De­cem­ber the two had a big fall­out.

“I rushed here in De­cem­ber and found that she had as­saulted my sis­ter. [Re­filwe] could not open her eyes and she had to stay in hos­pi­tal for three days. A week later, I heard they were on hol­i­day in Ma­galies­burg. I felt like a fool.”

Mon­amodi’s elder sis­ter, Pa­tri­cia, said that the al­leged mur­der had taken place in front of her grand­son and he would oc­ca­sion­ally talk about it.

“The child needs coun­selling. Now and then he talks about what hap­pened.”

She said her sis­ter would al­ways pro­tect her daugh­ter.

“She was in de­nial. She pro­tected her daugh­ter all the time and it was dif­fi­cult to in­ter­vene.

“Their re­la­tion­ship was okay un­til af­ter the [road] ac­ci­dent.”

Irene Snell-Car­roll, Age in Ac­tion’s Western Cape direc­tor, said there were no of­fi­cial fig­ures for the abuse of the el­derly.

“Some months we re­ceive a high num­ber of re­ports and other times not so many. It fluc­tu­ates and this could be be­cause peo­ple do not nec­es­sar­ily re­port these in­ci­dents.

“We are aware that there are pos­si­bly more cases that are not re­ported be­cause of fear of vic­tim­i­sa­tion.”

She said the vi­o­lence was not al­ways the kind that re­sulted in peo­ple seek­ing hos­pi­tal treat­ment. Most of­ten it in­volved slap­ping.

“Emo­tional abuse and ne­glect is also a big fac­tor and we know that there is also an eco­nomic el­e­ment to this abuse.”

‘ I would find my sis­ter had been as­saulted and left with black eyes

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