MmaThato, allegedly the granny's caregiver. Photo: SAPS

The South African police in the province of Mpumalanga have launched a manhunt following the discovery of an 80-year-old woman’s body at Pankop near Mmamethlake on Monday, 12 October 2020.

According to the South African Police Service, their preliminary investigation suggests the woman was living with her 10-year-old grandson and a caregiver who is believed to be from Lesotho. The caregiver, named MmaThato, had been hired by the family to take care of the granny. She has disappeared.

SAPS said: “On Monday, the young boy came back from school only to find that there was nobody at home. He realised that the door to the house was wide open but the burglar door was locked. He then began to ask neighbours of the whereabouts of his granny and the caregiver. The neighbours tried to assist in the search; meanwhile other family members were also informed about the matter.

“Whilst searching, the neighbours became suspicious when they noticed a coffee table, gas stove and a TV set placed on top of the freezer. They then removed the items and discovered the lifeless body of the elderly woman inside the freezer. The police as well as medical personnel were summoned where the victim was certified dead at the scene.”

MmaThato, allegedly the granny’s caregiver. Photo: SAPS

The police also revealed that a similar incident recently occurred nearby – just a few kilometres from Mmamethlake at Valbank – between March and September 2020. In that case, a 91-year-old woman was assaulted by a caregiver hired to look after her. After the assault, the 45-year-old suspect fled the scene. Police opened a case of assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm (GBH), and the suspect – also believed to be from Lesotho – was traced and arrested in Pretoria. She is due to appear in the Mbibana Magistrate’s Court tomorrow, Friday, 16 October 2020, where she is expected to apply for bail.

The police have opened a case of murder in the latest incident, and a manhunt has been launched. SAPS appealed to the caregiver, MmaThato, to immediately go to the nearest police station as they believe that she can assist immensely in the investigation.

Members of the public who know her whereabouts, are also urged to contact Detective Captain Solomon Moshime (anonymously if you prefer) at 082 065 1355 or call the Crime Stop number on 08600 10111, alternatively a tip-off can be given on the MySAPSApp.