The family of a Leribe woman who was dowsed with petrol before she was set alight received the shock of their lives last Saturday when they found out the 30-year-old had passed away two days before.
‘Mamorobele Lefela had been admitted at Tšepong hospital on February 11 after being allegedly attacked by her sister-in-law two days before, who accused her of having an affair with her husband.
Lefela was on her way to the taxi rank to get a taxi to South Africa, when the suspect allegedly poured petrol on her back, and set her on fire.
According to Lefela’s aunt, ‘Malieketseng Khooa, her niece was walking with three relatives when the suspect reportedly attacked her.
“They had just crossed the river (in Leribe) and she was removing mud from her shoes. It seems the suspect had been following them because she emerged from nowhere and poured petrol on her back. She tried to fight back but the suspect immediately struck a match and set her on fire.
“When her aunt tried to assist to put out the fire, the suspect also poured petrol on her face but she never set her on fire.
“After torching ‘Mamorobele, the suspect began prancing around holding the petrol-container, and each time somebody tried to help put out the fire, she would pour more petrol. Villagers from that area eventually put out the fire but she had already sustained serious injuries on her face, back and chest.”
Khooa said she did not know anything about the alleged affair.
“‘Mamorobele was staying in Johannesburg where she runs a tailoring business. She came home in December for the festive holidays and she was going back to continue with her business but unfortunately she was attacked.”
But it has since emerged this was not the first time the suspect attacked the now-deceased.
“In 2012, she came to ‘Mamorobele’s home accusing her of having an affair with her husband. She even forced her to go to another village where she claimed there was a witness regarding the alleged affair.
“The suspect took her phone and started searching for her husband’s contact details but never found them.
“Two days before the attack (on February 7) the suspect attacked me as she thought I was ‘Mamorobele. She came after us and pulled away the hat which was covering my face, asking who I was talking to on the phone. I asked why she was concerned about my conversation on the phone, then she walked away saying I had just escaped death.
“What surprises us about this woman is that they are related with ‘Mamorobele. Their fathers-in-law are relatives. We have heard that her husband is working in Rustenburg and it was too far from where the deceased was working in Johannesburg.”
Khooa said they never thought they would lose ‘Mamorobele so soon.
The deceased’s mother, Mamonyane Tšita, said she still does not believe that her daughter is gone.
“I can imagine the pain she went through and I was not there to comfort her, since I was in South Africa. This has caused me so much pain. My grandson will grow up without her mother and father who is also deceased,” she sighed, covering her face for a while, before wiping away tears.
Police spokesperson Lebona Mohloboli on Friday said the suspect appeared in the Leribe Magistrate’s Court on February 12 charged with attempted murder, and remanded in custody until February 25.
But Mohloboli said now that the alleged victim had died, the charge would be changed to murder.