The husband, his brother, and a friend of a woman who was found dead in a dam in Dinaweng, in the Free State, are set to stand trial for her murder on Tuesday.
The body of 41-year-old Sefora Tjobo was allegedly discovered by her husband, Kopano Tjobo, on 4 July 2020, with Kopano having told police that two days prior she had left a note saying that she would be visiting someone in the area, but never returned.
As police investigated the incident, it became evident that the husband, as well as his brother and a friend of the family knew more about the woman's death than they were prepared to admit.
Police poke holes in claims Tjobo left note prior to her murder
Kopano Tjobe called the police on 4 July saying that he had found the body of his wife after she had been missing for two days. He said that he had gone looking for her in a field in Dinaweng and ultimately found her floating in a nearby dam. When questioned by police, Kopano said that he had been with his friend, Thapelo Monnane on the day of her disappearance.
Police poked some holes in his story though, and police spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele said that the note she was alleged to have left raised serious questions about the legitimacy of Kopano's alibi.
"The investigation revealed that the murder was planned by the husband and his brother," he said. "Also that the letter that was supposedly written by the deceased was drafted by the brother Tshukudiso so as to distort the investigation."
Further investigation led to the emergence of grim details surrounding the killing of Sefora Tjobo.
'Ritual' inspired Tjobo's murder
Makhele alleged in his statement that Kopano led his wife out of the house after calling her from a remote location. That way, said Makhele, neighbours would see her leaving alone and credence would be given to his story that he was nowhere near his wife that night.
Michele said that Kopano, and his brother – 34-year-old Tshukudiso Tjobo – then met her in the field and performed some form of ritual, one that ultimately saw the woman stabbed and strangled.
"Once there the husband allegedly stabbed and strangled her whilst the brother was holding her. After dropping the body they went to Thapelo Monnane (the 39-year-old friend) who helped cover their tracks," he said
The three were arrested and made their first appearance on the 20 July 2020, with their latest appearance today having been postponed until August.