The tragic death of Mapula Khune, the sister of Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, is now believed to have been a heinous act of criminality. The 27-year-old was confirmed dead following a house fire on Thursday.
Police officers investigating the suspicious circumstances now believe a teenager is behind the blaze. On Monday, a 17-year-old suspect will appear in the Ventersdorp Children’s Court, to face a charge of murder. SAPS confirmed the details on Sunday, revealing that the boy was taken into custody on Friday:
“A 17-year-old is expected to appear before the Ventersdorp Children’s Court as prescribed by the Child Justice Act Monday 8 March – for the alleged murder of 27-year-old Mapula (Meiki) Khune. This comes after the 17-year-old boy was charged on Friday afternoon, 5 March, in Ventersdorp, following the alleged murder of Khune.
The incident reportedly took place in the early hours of Thursday morning at the home of Mapula Khune near Ventersdorp in the North West Province. The news has broken just after Itumeleng Khune was named in the Bafana Bafana squad for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan. A SAPS statement describes the grim sequence of events:
“At about 5:00, neighbours saw smoke coming from a house in Extension 2, Tshing, Ventersdorp. Emergency Services were called, who discovered the severely burnt body Khune on top of her bed. Only the back room was damaged during the fire. Police initially investigated an inquest, but after obtaining more information, the inquest was changed to murder.”
Lieutenant Colonel Myburgh confirmed that the body of Mapula was burnt, but did not go into detail about the full extent of her fatal injuries. The incredibly emotive case has sparked a wave of mob violence in this part of North West, with so-called ‘street patrollers’ dishing out beatings for those they believe to be involved with the murder:
“Since Friday, additional cases of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH) have been reported as community street patrollers and family members have allegedly been assaulting alleged perpetrators for the murder of Khune. Lieutenant General Sello Kwena lauded police for their speedy response, for catching the suspect within a day.”