First Lady’s employee found dead in SA

First Lady’s employee found dead in SA

MASERU – AN employee of the First Lady’s trust fund and a staunch ruling party supporter who went missing on Christmas Eve has been found dead in South Africa.
Her family is desperately searching for answers, amid a widening row between a senior official in the First Lady’s Office and the family.
Ntolo Shoaepane-Mpeete, a procurement officer in the trust fund, will be buried in Lithabaneng, Maseru, this weekend.

“We are not sure if it will be on Sunday or Saturday. It is painful and heart-wrenching to lose our mother,” her eldest daughter, Tšepiso Mpeete, said.
She said as Christians, the family had accepted Shoaepane-Mpeete’s death.
“We are saying if it was time, we should accept what has happened,” Tšepiso said.
But that hasn’t stopped the family from seeking answers.

Tšepiso said her mother left for Centurion in Pretoria to service her car travelling alone on Christmas Eve.
She said their investigations have revealed that the car did undergo some service in Pretoria on December 27, three days after she left Lesotho.
“We were hoping that she would come home on the 28th of last month but that never happened,” Tšepiso said.

She is now returning in a body bag to be buried at Lithabaneng.
As they prepare to bury her, family members are baffled by the circumstances surrounding Shoaepane-Mpeete’s death.
Her body was found in Germiston, South Africa, last Thursday while the car was found in Sterkspruit, about 600 kilometres away.
Germiston is in Gauteng, over 500 kilometres north of Lesotho, while Sterkspruit is in the Eastern Cape along the southern border of Lesotho.
To the best of the family’s knowledge, Shoaepane-Mpeete had no intention of travelling to that part of South Africa.

Her body was found by locals, dumped, before it was taken to a mortuary.
“We want to see justice done, especially because the perpetrators have been arrested,” said Tšepiso.
She said Shoaepane-Mpeete’s car was found being driven by a man who was arrested by the police.

“We do not want to go deep into the matter because police are still investigating the matter,” Tšepiso said, adding that no wounds were found on her mother’s body.
“We are still waiting for the post-mortem results so that we know exactly what happened,” Tšepiso said.
Police spokesperson, Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli, said law enforcement agents embarked on investigations after Shoaepane-Mpeete’s children reported that their mother was missing.

Supt Mopeli said they were informed by their South African counterparts that Shoaepane-Mpeete had been found dead in Germiston.
A rift is also brewing between Shoaepane-Mpeete’s family and the First Lady’s spokesperson Silas Monyatsi over a leaked audio clip in which he seemed to blame Shoaepane-Mpeete for her own death.
Monyatsi refused to comment on the issue, citing the bad blood existing between him and Shoaepane-Mpete’s family.

He said the family no longer wanted him to talk about their mother in the media.
“Even at the office I was asked to lay my hands off from this case,” he said.
Monyatsi said the audio clip, which went viral on social media, triggered the sour relationship.
In the leaked audio clip, Monyatsi is heard saying that although Shoaepane-Mpeete, a widow in her early 50s, was attending prayer sessions with him it seemed she had “a lust to have a man” and that drove her to trust a stranger.

She had met the stranger on social media site, Facebook, he is heard as saying.
Shoaepane-Mpeete had just bought a car from Japan with Monyatsi’s logistical assistance and he advised her to take it to Bloemfontein for service.
The audio clip says Shoaepane-Mpeete trusted her Facebook boyfriend who took her to Centurion.
The boyfriend is alleged to have stolen the car and took it to Sterkspruit.

Monyatsi said he was the one who assisted the family to trace the boyfriend through his Facebook account and established that he was in Sterkspruit.
He said Police Minister Lehlohonolo Moramotse, a father-in-law of Shaoepane-Mpeete’s daughter, intervened and the local police and SAPS went there and found the car and the boyfriend.
The boyfriend has been arrested but that has done little to heal the family’s wounds.
“Her death sent shockwaves to us,” Tšepiso told thepost this week.
She said the incident has left “a deep wound” that will take time to heal.

Majara Molupe

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