Man missing since Easter feared dead after corpse found in dam

A man from Hope Fountain, missing since the Easter holidays, is feared dead following the discovery of a corpse in a dam in Manningdale.

Villagers in Mthombothemba stated that the clothes and ring recovered from the dam where the body was found match those of the missing man.  

Acting Bulawayo Provincial Police Spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Nomalanga Msebele confirmed the incident and said investigations were still underway. 

“I can confirm that we received a case of a missing man and that there are remains of a human body that were retrieved. Investigations are still ongoing on the case,” she said. 

According to a source close to the investigations, the missing man, Jawet Sibanda, had ongoing disputes with his brother over cattle given to him.

A few days before his disappearance, Jawet sought police intervention to resolve the cattle-related conflicts with his brother.

The source revealed that two months after Jawet went missing, a report emerged about a suspected human body in the dam in Manningdale.

“Jawet was having constant fights with his brother over cattle. A few days before he disappeared, he took his mother and the person who had given him the cattle to the police to clarify that indeed the cattle had been given to him, seeking to put to rest the fights between him and his brother,” the source said.  

“A few days later, there were reports that Jawet was missing. The community and the police tried to help his family to find him, but they could not locate him. About two months later, someone from Manningdale reported that there was a suspected human body floating in the water body but no one seemed keen to take up the matter.”  

The source said the body resurfaced again in September after the water level in the dam had dropped leading to a police report being made.  

“The police came and retrieved the body, but the head was missing. Jawet’s clothes were found at the dam and a ring that he always wore was also found there. There was substantive evidence suggesting that it could be him. Two weeks later the head was found, and the police said there was need to carry out DNA tests to confirm that the body is indeed that of Jawet,” the source said.  

“At first the hold-up was that the family said there was no money to conduct the DNA tests. But later on, Jawet’s brother suggested selling the cattle that were at their home to raise the required amount of money. The brother sold three cattle but to date no update has been brought. Money realised after selling three cows is way beyond the cost of DNA tests, but no one has brought feedback on what the tests said.”  

The source at the time of Jawet’s disappearance, there were four cows that were left behind from the disputed ones and the brother took one which he used to pay off a prophet who claimed where Jawet was.  

“The brother brought a prophet. The prophet said Jawet was alive and enclosed somewhere and would return home after a while. The prophet demanded a cow as payment, and it was given to him, but Jawet never returned.”  

Board Chairperson of Mthombothemba Community Cooperative, Dingiswayo Chatagwe, said the community is looking to the police to conclude the investigations and serve justice for the family.  

“We live in a mining community where we deal with murder cases all the time. But this case is a bit different. It sounds more like a family dispute and for the sake of the family, we really hope that justice will be served,” he said.  

“In the African culture, it is difficult to just move on as a family from such a situation, where you do not know whether your family member is dead or they may come back some day. We hope the police will assist accordingly. If this matter is not properly addressed, it may cause panic among people, no one will feel safe in the community anymore.”    

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