The mine shaft where the body of Refiloe Malope was dumped
Police have succeeded in retrieving the body of kidnapped lesbian woman Refiloe Malope from the Benoni mine shaft where she was dumped.
Malope’s body was first spotted at the bottom of the deep shaft last Friday with the use of a special camera but it was deemed too dangerous to reach her.
After bringing in specialised equipment, the 31-year-old’s body was finally removed from the mine shaft on Monday following a four-hour operation.
Police were also able to positively identify the body as that of the missing Malope.
Limpopo Provincial Commissioner of Police, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe thanked the teams that were involved in retrieving the body, including Gauteng Search and Rescue Units.
“We hope that the recovery of Malope’s remains will bring closure to the family as much as it strengthens our case against the accused,” he said.
Disturbingly, another unidentified body was also retrieved from the same mine shaft and investigations are underway to determine the identity and the cause of death.
Malope was kidnapped on 9 May from Kgaphamadi village in Limpopo. Witnesses saw the screaming woman being forced into the boot of a white Toyota sedan by two men.
It’s believed that the men had approached Malope on the pretext of asking for help because their car had broken down. After putting her into the boot, they drove off in the vehicle.
Two suspects, Police Sergeant Thabo Letudi Moses Mokoana, 40, and Modirelwa Maxwell Mokoana, 42, were arrested in connection with the case.
They will appear again before the Nebo Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 30 June for a formal bail application. They are facing charges of kidnapping, murder and defeating the ends of justice.
Malope is the seventh known queer individual to be killed in South Africa in 2022.
Earlier this month, 24-year-old Emanuel Mouers was stabbed to death by a man who objected to them using the men’s bathroom. On 27 May, the body of Ruth Chigowe, a 24-year-old lesbian mom from Zimbabwe, was found “stoned to death” in Katlehong, a large township southeast of Johannesburg.
The mutilated body of Nontokozo Caroline Motloung, 27, who’d been missing for a week in Vereeniging, was found on 21 May after a desperate search by her family and community. Also in May, the naked body of 22-year old Unathi Webber was discovered in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.
On 27 April, 25-year-old Musa Xulu was gunned down in full view of the public in Inanda, Durban. It’s believed Xulu was buying items at a garage when a man said he hated gays and shot him dead in the parking lot.
Just days earlier, 24-year-old Mfundo Ngobese was seriously injured in a suspected hate crime attack by a group of men near the Durban City Hall after leaving a gay nightclub.
In March, Pinky Shongwe, a 32-year-old lesbian woman, was stabbed to death just outside of Durban, reportedly because she rejected a man’s romantic advances.