Everson Luhanga

The last time Zama Maphisa’s family saw her was at their family home in Alexandra on 29 September 2021. That morning, her boyfriend Lefadi Chego asked that they go to Mpumalanga for breakfast.

But Zama never returned.

Her sister Tracy Sithole later told Scrolla.Africa that Chego confessed to the killing and took the police to the spot where he dumped her body on 14 November.

Now, five months after her death, Zama’s family are satisfied that they can at last give their daughter a dignified funeral.

On Wednesday, Zama’s remains were brought back home to Alexandra after DNA tests confirmed that the remains found in the bushes in Mpumalanga were indeed hers.

Tracy said she is grateful that the long wait to see her remains back home is finally over.

“The family has mixed feelings,” she said.

“We are very sad that what Zama thought was the love of her life and protector murdered her. She went to Mpumalanga with him because she loved him. I don’t think she ever thought he would harm her. But she was wrong,” she said.

Tracy said besides the pain of losing Zama, the family has serious challenges to find the money to travel to Mpumalanga whenever the suspect appears in the KwaMhlanga Magistrate’s Court.

“Zama’s mother stays in Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal and some of us stay in Alexandra, Johannesburg. Not everyone is working and raising money to go to Mpumalanga is a huge stress for us,” she said.

Zama’s cousin Docus Ngidi said the family feels safe with Chego in custody.

“We are happy that his bail applications have been denied,” said Docus.

When the case returned to court last week, Chego’s lawyer dumped the case just before the proceedings got underway.

“The female lawyer told the court that she couldn’t continue with the case and she walked out of the courtroom. The magistrates responded by saying: ‘Have a good weekend.’”

On Wednesday evening, gender-based activists in Alexandra held a memorial service for Zama.

The service was attended by officials from the office of MEC for Community Safety Faith Mazibuko, Alexandra police officials, community policing forum, and the community at large.

Zama will be laid to rest in Nongoma, KZN, on Saturday.

Chego will appear in court on 11 February.