The family of a two-time psychology graduate claim they have reason to believe that a Gauteng poultry farmer might hold clues to the events leading up to the kidnapping and murder of Rimokeng Maphisa (33).
Maphisa, who is being laid to rest today (Saturday, 7 January), was reported as missing on Tuesday, 20 December following a series of events in Olievenhoutbosch, a township next to Centurion.
She lived in the same street as the farmer, who according to a police spokesperson, lieutenant-colonel Gert Corbett, was arrested and appeared before the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 28 December.
Corbett told Food For Mzansi the investigation is ongoing and, at the time of publishing this article, did not yet respond to an enquiry about whether the farmer was formally charged with Maphisa’s murder.
Family spokesperson Ezekiel Maphisa says they were told she was released due to insufficient evidence. Besides both living in Intinginono Street, the deceased had no other relations with the farmer. They were both new in the neighbourhood and were not friends.
From what they could gather thus far from neighbours and witnesses, Maphisa borrowed a cellphone charger from the farmer’s house on the day before her disappearance.
That same evening, Intinginono Street allegedly experienced two house robberies – one at the farmer’s house, and the other at an unidentified neighbour. This led to the farmer moving out of her rented home the next morning.
Grisly details emerge
“[The farmer] returned at around 15:00 and accused Rimokeng of having a hand in the robbery,” claims Ezekiel. “She mobilised other neighbours and proceeded to capture Rimokeng, assaulted her and tied both her feet and hands with a rope.”
Witnesses have told the family that Maphisa was assaulted by the farmer and at least two unknown men who accompanied her. She was allegedly forced into the farmer’s vehicle and claimed they were taking her to a police station. This was the last time Maphisa was seen alive.
Two days later, on Thursday, 22 December, her body was discovered dumped on the R511 in Laezonia AH, though the family notes that a pathologist has marked her date of death as a day earlier. The body was found about eight kilometres from Mnandi AH where the farm is situated.
‘Shy, but ambitious’
Meanwhile, Ezekiel describes his late niece as “quiet, but very ambitious”. In 2012, she obtained a BA degree in psychology and sociology from Wits University. Three years later, she graduated with a BSc (Honours) in psychology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Despite this, she struggled to find a job in South Africa and was due to, again, begin working as an English teacher in South Korea this February. She had previously also worked in China but returned home at the advent of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Maphisa is survived by her three brothers. She will be buried at the Olievenhoutbosch cemetery in Centurion on Saturday.
- Food For Mzansi cannot reveal the farmer’s identity because she has not formally been charged with the kidnapping and murder. The publication reached out to police spokesperson lieutenant-colonel Gert Corbett on Wednesday, 4 January with further questions and again via WhatsApp and phone call on Friday, 6 January. Information received from Corbett will be added when it is received.
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