On June 1, an emotional Sergeant Nancy Lesenya, of Mzombani near Mokopane in Limpopo, spoke of her pain. Lesenya's ex-lover Jimmy Makhubela appeared in the Mokerong Magistrate's Court on Monday on charges of kidnapping.
Police are now expected to add a murder charge to the docket after Makhubela allegedly pointed out where the body was dumped. Makhubela apparently argued with Lesenya a day before the nine-year-old boy went missing.
Lesenya's son Katlego is a third child to be killed in Limpopo in the past four days, as SA marks National Child Protection Week. Police spokeswoman Colonel Ronel Otto yesterday said two other suspects were arrested in connection with the kidnapping and murder of two five-year-old girls. Otto said the naked bodies of friends Lekwelo Masola and Nthabiseng Motlaphema were found hanging from a tree near Ribone village in Gilead three days ago.
Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, Lesenya said she spent days worried about her son after he disappeared on May 21. The officer, who has worked for the family violence, child protection and sexual unit for the past nine years, said she never thought her child would one day be a victim of crime.
"I never thought this would ever happen to me. I couldn't eat. I kept waiting by the stoep hoping that he'd come home. When he left the house he was wearing a vest, so I kept wondering whether he was warm," Lesenya said.
She said her youngest child has also been asking about her brother's whereabouts.
"It's been hard because she keeps asking me, 'where is Katli?'"
Lesenya said she went looking for her child when it started getting late and he wasn't home. She said another child who was playing with Katlego in the street helped to identify the car that allegedly picked him up.
"When I realised who it was, I thought he would bring him back. I used to trust him with the children and even ask him to pick them up from school when I was working far away," Lesenya said.
But Katlego never came home until his body was discovered by members of the police search and rescue team on Monday. Otto said Katlego's body was found after the suspect pointed out the area . Otto said he allegedly threw the body from a bridge into a shallow river.
She said a postmortem would be conducted to determine the cause of death while investigations continued. Lesenya said she found comfort in that she would be able to bury her son.
"I have found closure. A dead body is better than not knowing what happened."
The child's father Medupe Lesenya, who is a soldier, clutched an orange cloth while wiping tears from his eyes. He recalled how he rushed from Johannesburg to Mokopane after being told his son was missing. Medupe said he felt that the police did not do enough to search for his son.
"I kept asking how far they were with my child's case. They failed my child. They only started looking when they heard the story being aired on the radio."
Colonel Ronel Otto said it was not true. "We have been working with the mother of the child since he went missing."
She said the police had followed up every lead that came through. Yesterday, burnt tyres near the family home told of sleepless nights spent by concerned neighbours helping with the search for Katlego, a pupil at Mokopane Primary School.