Sight of naked, battered granddaughter’s body will forever haunt KZN gran
The four-year-old’s body was found wrapped in items that belonged to a relative
A lone candle, a plate of coins and a small neatly-folded girl’s outfit lay next to grieving KwaMashu mother Fikile Mhlongo as she stared blankly, reeling from news of the brutal murder of her four-year-old daughter Sanelisiwe Mhlongo.
The girl’s battered body was found in the nearby bushes of her backyard in KwaMashu, north of Durban, on Thursday after she had gone missing from her home while in the care of a relative the previous day.
According to police, she had sustained stab wounds to the neck and stomach, as well as a head injury.
Sanelisiwe’s body was found wrapped in items that belonged to a relative, who is said to have been taken in for questioning but later released.
“It would have been better if that person had taken me, her grandmother, because I would have been able to fight them off and call for the neighbour’s help. If it was up to me, that person would feel the pain they inflicted on the child regardless of whether it is my blood relative or a neighbour – she was so young,” said Sanelisiwe’s grandmother Dolly Mhlongo.
The sight of Saneliswe’s naked body lying face down under a tree in the bushes will forever be etched in Mhlongo’s memory.
“They let us through the scene and we saw the child. She was naked with her face down - the only injury I saw was on her head. She was talkative, but she was really shy and afraid of strangers; she would play with the children in the neighbourhood,” said Mhlongo.
Outside the modest and unfenced Mhlongo home on Vemvane Road, angry residents gathered planning a march to the police station on Wednesday.
“I was born and raised here. This is the first time we have ever seen anything like this in the community. It’s something we see on TV. It was painful when we saw the child’s body and the abuse she had suffered. We want the truth,” said community member Zodwa Mchunu.
Among the crowd was member of the provincial legislature Zinhle Cele, who is from the area.
“For a child to be killed in such a gruesome manner means no one is safe in this community. In July a child was also raped in the area, but no arrests were made. That is why we want to march to the police station. We want the police to do their job. I want to plead with people to not take matters into their own hands. and we will work together with the police,” said Cele.
Police confirmed case of murder was being investigated by KwaMashu police.