A 27-year-old woman, who had been missing for five months, has been found buried in a shallow grave at her boyfriend’s home at Ga-Setati, outside Polokwane, in Limpopo. Police say Kgothatso Pula disappeared on 2 January after visiting the boyfriend.

Her remains were exhumed on Friday and the 30-year-old man has been arrested.

It is alleged that the suspect pointed out the grave in his backyard to the police.

On the night she went missing, Pula and her cousin had left home to visit another relative in the village, but she allegedly diverted to the suspect’s home after receiving a phone call from him. Spokesperson for the bereaved family, Edwin Pula, says they got worried when she did not return the following day and could not be reached on her cell phone.

“The aunt when she asked her daughter, ‘where is Kgothatso?’ The child said to her, Kgothatso was with the accused, but he told them that Kgothatso had left with another guy to Gauteng. That was amazing because it was during the night. How can Kgothatso leave with somebody whom they don’t know to go to Gauteng? Then Ttlou frequently visited the accused’s family; they even phoned the phone several times. The phone kept on ringing, but some other days it would be on voicemail. Sometimes it would be answered by someone saying ‘where I am I’m okay there’s no problem.’ Then you ask yourself, what is happening here? And you are asking the same guy saying the phone kept on ringing, ‘didn’t you know about it?’ And he just refused.”

Edwin says there are so many unanswered questions around the incident and they are sad that she would never realise her dream of being a nurse, as she had just landed a job.

“We have lost a girl, we have lost a sister, and we have lost a daughter; a very humble girl who had just completed her nursing course. She was supposed to work in Venda. We believe that God will heal our hearts and will strengthen us during this difficult time. We are in grief right now, we are crying at the manner in which our daughter has passed on and the question that we are having is, what triggered you to do that, what forced you to do that? We are so sad.”

When SABC News visited the family, social workers were already there to provide counselling.

Spokesperson for the Social Development Department in Limpopo, Witness Tiva, says incidents of gender-based violence remain a major concern.

“The Department of Social Development immediately dispatched a team of Social Workers to start providing psycho-social support to the family who have been affected by this gruesome discovery. MEC Nkakareng Rakgoale expressed concern over the continuing incidents of GBV that are claiming the lives of women and children in particular. MEC Rakgoale also commended the police for the sterling work they have done.”

Police say the suspect will appear in the Seshego Magistrate’s Court on charges of kidnapping and murder.