A 17-year-old Grade 12 boy has confessed to raping and strangling a classmate in Mpumalanga. The body of the 17-year-old girl was found buried in a shallow grave in Pienaar, outside Mbombela.

Nomthandazo Mbatha went missing on Monday after going to study with her classmates.

Mbatha’s family got a shock of their life after the worst was confirmed. They last saw their daughter when she left home for a study session with school mates. She never made it back home and now, police say they are questioning more than one suspect.

Mpumalanga Police Spokesperson, Leonard Hlathi, says they have taken in for questioning another learner who is believed to have assisted the accused with moving the body.

“We got information about the incident. A 17-year-old boy was arrested after he confessed that he raped and strangled her to death. We have also taken for questioning another learner who assisted in taking the body from Point A to Point B.”

While there’s a confession to the murder, the deceased’s uncle, Patrick Mkhonto, says that the family hopes justice will take its course so they can get closure.

“We are very hurt by what happened. We are now putting are hopes on police.”

News of Mbatha’s death quickly reached Ncakini Secondary School where she attended. Shock and horror was expressed.

“We never expected this to happen. We are very shocked. She was my friend, I used to go to church with her and now she is gone. It’s very painful.”

The suspect will appear in court on Friday, facing charges of murder, rape and defeating the ends of justice.