A man from KwaMhlanga in Mpumalanga has been jailed for 30 years after he killed his girlfriend and hid her body in a steel box at his home. He was also found guilty of a count of rape in an unrelated case.

According to police spokesperson Colonel Donald Mdhluli, Thabiso Mogoe (33) murdered Zanele Mthimunye, 32, on 14 September 2019. After stuffing her body into a steel box at his home, he went into hiding.

Mdhluli said that on 16 September 2019, her children had no one to help them prepare for school.

Mthimunye’s brother helped to look for her and while searching in the place she and Mogoe used to stay in, he found her body inside the steel box.

“The police and medical personnel were notified about the incident and upon arrival, Mthimunye was certified dead by paramedics. Subsequently, police opened a case of murder and launched a manhunt for Mthimunye’s killer. An investigation was conducted and, after a week, police made a breakthrough where they located Mogoe [at] his hiding place at Makhutso in Limpopo”.

Mogoe was charged with Mthimunye’s murder. During the investigation, they discovered that he was also wanted for a rape which took place on 5 February 2018. He was positively linked to the case and charged accordingly.

The complainant was a 26-year-old woman. On the day of the incident, she and her boyfriend were on their way home from a place of entertainment and as they were passing a farm in Moloto, they came across Mogoe who used a hammer to threaten them. The boyfriend fled and left his girlfriend with Mogoe. He then raped her and robbed her of her cellphone.

On Friday, the Mpumalanga High Court in Delmas sentenced Mogoe to an effective 30 years behind bars for robbery, rape and murder.

He was also declared unfit to possess a firearm. His name will be entered into the register of sexual offenders.