A family who believe that their daughter is the woman whose dismembered body parts were found in a fridge in Soweto say she and the accused are cousins.
This is according to a woman who said she is the aunt of the deceased. She added that the mother of the accused, Flavio Hlabangwane, volunteered to look after the deceased and her younger sister after their own mother had passed on.
The woman said long before their daughter’s remains were found in a freezer on November 13, Hlabangwane’s mother Grace Hlabangwane should have informed them about her disappearance.
The relative, who cannot be named until the identity of the deceased has been confirmed by authorities, on Tuesday said they were not aware of their daughter’s disappearance until her death made news.
“We know that the deceased is our daughter even though DNA results have not been released. All we want is our daughter’s [remains] so that we can lay her to rest,” she said.
She added that the deceased’s paternal and maternal families had a strained relationship and that the deceased had been isolated from them.
“Grace did not even tell us when (the deceased) had gone missing and she has not said anything about her death to us. She failed us as a guardian,” said the aunt.
She said the deceased and her younger sister were in Grace’s custodianship and that she was meant to have informed them about any developments.
“The day after the deceased’s mother died, Grace took them in and said she would take care of them. We did not even know that Flavio and our daughter were married. They are cousins, that is something that should have never happened. But we can’t confirm that they were married because we did not know,” she said.
She was speaking shortly after Hlabangwane’s court case was adjourned in the Protea magistrate’s court on Tuesday.
Hlabangwane faces a charge of murder and contravening the inquests act after body parts were found in his place of residence.
During yesterday’s court proceedings, the accused stood with his head facing the floor and avoided eye contact with those present in the court gallery.
His lawyer, Gift Mncube, told the court that he would not be able to proceed with the matter after he was not paid legal fees.
“There is a slight predicament in which the accused’s family indicated to me that they currently do not have funds. They asked for a bit of time to gather the funds required for the matter to proceed. By Friday I’ll have the financial instructions to proceed,” said Mncube.
Magistrate David Mhango postponed the matter to Friday for Hlabangwane and Mncube to iron out their financial hurdle.
Gauteng police spokesperson Col Brenda Muridili said investigations were still ongoing and that they were still waiting for DNA results from the forensic laboratory before confirming the identity of the deceased.
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