Struggle icon’s foundation sets up charity for his slain niece
Bachana Mokwena Foundation wants the murder case against her husband taken to the high court for swift prosecution
Karabo Mabuse may be transferred to the Pretoria High Courtto be prosecuted for the murder of his young wife, Lesego, after his case was postponed on Tuesday to allow the office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions to make its decision.
Meanwhile, the foundation her family runs has said it will be launching a charity initiative in her name following her brutal killing earlier this year.
Lesego, the niece of struggle stalwart Bachana Mokwena, was reported missing on January 5 by Karabo, who then told the 28-year-old’s family that he had dropped his wife on the corner outside her aunt’s home in Pretoria North, at her request, but that she never returned home.
However, just a few days later, the husband was arrested and charged with Lesego’s murder. The young woman’s family was immediately suspicious of Karabo’s version of events the night his wife went missing, according to Lesego’s cousin, Marumo Mokwena.
“Why had he not taken her up the driveway and made sure she went inside? Why had she and [her husband] decided to leave their two children at home without anyone to watch them? She was not that kind of mother,” Mokwena told Times Select.
On January 7, Karabo was taken in for police questioning, and less than 24 hours later Lesego’s body was found in a stretch of veld in De Wildt, on the way from Pretoria to Brits in North West. She had been shot five times.
Muramo said it was Karabo who had pointed out the location where the body had been taken, a fact confirmed by Tshwane North police spokesperson Captain Matthews Nkoadi.
Nkoadi said in January that Karabo had revealed where the body was after police questioning, and that her body was found “badly decomposed from the heat”. Karabo had been charged with murder, defeating the ends of justice, and perjury, the latter two charges emanating from the husband reporting his wife’s disappearance despite knowing exactly where she was.
On Tuesday, Karabo appeared briefly in the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court, where it was revealed that the case had been flagged to potentially be heard at the Pretoria High Court now that the investigation was complete.
The case was postponed to the end of March for a decision from the office of the NDPP, with the Bachana Mokwena Foundation saying it hopes the case will be escalated to ensure a swift prosecution.
More than a dozen relatives and members of the foundation filled the first two rows of the court gallery yesterday morning, all wearing yellow shirts calling for justice for the slain woman.
“We’d like it to go to the high court so it can receive more attention. We read these kind of stories [about intimate partner murders] all the time, but nothing is happening to stop it,” said Marumo.
The cousin said the couple’s two children are now staying with relatives in Gauteng, as Karabo remains in custody pending his trial.
Marumo said the foundation would, in the next month or so, launch a campaign in his cousin’s name to collect blankets and other items for disadvantaged schoolchildren this winter.
“We are still feeling the void after Lesego died. She used to help us in our work, and she left a big void to fill,” he said.
According to SA History Online, Bachana Mokwena was a proponent of the Culture and Resistance Conference in 1982, organised by the ANC cultural desk as part of “uniting activists and cultural workers to form a coalition of cultural resistance to apartheid”.