The family of Smangele Kholeka Mahlangu is still struggling to come to terms with her death after she was allegedly doused with paraffin and set alight by her boyfriend on August 31.
The 26-year-old died at the Far East Rand Hospital on September 5 due to the severity of the burns.
Her boyfriend Nkosana Sipho Mthombeni (32) appeared at the Benoni Magistrate’s Court on September 3 on a charge of attempted murder.
The case was postponed to September 11 for a formal bail hearing, the charge changed to murder and the case was postponed to September 19.
The incident occurred at Bagdad squatter camp near Mayfield, Putfontein, at around 11pm.
Putfontein SAPS spokesperson Constable Justice Ramaube said a case of attempted murder was opened at the station which will be changed to murder when Mthombeni appears for the bail hearing.
Far East Rand Hospital communications officer Phumza Ntuthuka said Mahlangu had suffered more than 75 per cent burns and due to the extent of her burns did not meet the burns unit’s criteria for admission.
“Unfortunately, because of the severity of the burns, she died,” said Ntuthuka.
Mahlangu’s mother, Nomsa Mnisi, told City Times that prior to her death, her daughter told her that Mthombeni had doused her with paraffin and set her alight after they had had an argument.
“He then locked her in the house but when he heard her screaming he came back and tried to smother the flames,” said Mnisi.
Mthombeni and Mahlangu had been in a relationship for five years.
The family claimed that Mthombeni used to physically assault the deceased.
Mnisi said in December when Mahlangu was pregnant with their baby, which subsequently died, Mthombeni attacked her, hitting her on the head with a steel pipe.
Ntombifuthi Mnisi, Mahlangu’s sister, said the family is still shocked by the incident.
“We are heartbroken and still trying to accept what has happened. It has not yet sunk in that my sister is no longer with us,” said Mnisi.
She described her as a people’s person, honest, sociable and caring.
“We were very close and I will miss her friendship and company.”
Mnisi said before her daughter died she told her to fight for her.
“We want justice to prevail, the law must take its course,” she said.
She is survived by her son, Njabulo (9), her mother, two sisters and five brothers.
No funerals arrangements have been made yet, as the family is in need of donations to help them bury Mahlangu.
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