Cops refuse to show family Scarface's body
SIPHOFANENI – The family of slain Bhekinkhosi ‘Scarface’ Masina is disappointed as the police yesterday refused them permission to see his entire body.
This is despite that the police were the ones who came to fetch them from their homestead to identify if indeed the person they shot and killed was ‘Scarface’.
Masina’s aunt, Jabhile Masina, nee Mamba and cousin Busisiwe Masina were taken to Good Shepherd Hospital’s mortuary where they positively identified the body to be that of Scarface.
Scarface’s death comes after he had been on the run for about seven months as he was first declared a most-wanted rape suspect on November 29, 2011.
He was certified dead on Thursday at Good Shepherd Hospital after being shot on the thigh just below his backside, according to the police. This happened in a forest situated about two kilometres opposite Langa Bricks Company, at around 3pm after police had tracked him there from the main road.
When seeing the police, he is said to have taken to his heels and was shot in the leg but continued running before falling over, leading to his capture. He was then rushed to hospital but was certified dead on arrival.
In a brief interview, Jabhile said she was saddened by ‘Scarface’s death adding that the whole family is shocked. "Despite his criminal acts he is a member of the family and we are saddened by his death," she said, while wiping tears.
Yesterday, his family had the opportunity of seeing him for the first since he disappeared from home following the allegations levelled against him. They were fetched by Siphofaneni police at about 8am and driven to the hospital. They had at least hoped that he would be captured alive so that he answers for all the transgressions he is alleged to have committed.
More than anything, they wanted to see the bullet wound that eventually led to his death.
The elderly Jabhile said upon arrival they were ushered to the morgue where an attendant showed them to the drawer where the body was kept.
"We went there with the police and the attendant pulled the drawer and removed a portion of the white material that covered his body, only to reveal the head and the face. We then requested to see the whole body and the wound on his thigh but the police refused and said we could only be allowed to do that next week Tuesday when the body will be taken for a post-mortem," said Jabhile.
Busisiwe adding said; "We only saw the face that was covered with sand and bits of dry grass, especially on the mouth and on his teeth."
When asked how she viewed this, Busisiwe said to her it appeared as if Masina’s face had rubbed on the ground before he died, which she said was a sign that he fell on his face and suffered some pain.
She said it was questionable how he could have left the dirt unattended on the face if he had fallen due to an injury on the thigh only, because he must have been able to move his upper body, especially a hand to remove dirt from the mouth before he died.
Both Jabhile and Busisiwe said they believed a person shot on the thigh could not go unconscious instantly, unless there were other factors that may have contributed to his failure to wipe his face after falling.
The Masinas said it really disturbed them to be barred from viewing the whole body because he was their son and they believed they had every right to his body.
"If we are limited to see his body then it means the police will take the role of burying him, because if he was still ours, they would have allowed us to see him even without their presence," said Jabhile.
After identifying the body, the Masina family was taken to the Lubombo Regional Headquarters where they recorded statements and later on to the Siphofaneni Police Station where they also recorded statements. Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Wendy Hleta said yesterday’s visit by the family to the mortuary was meant specifically for identification of the corpse.
She said the family will be awarded an opportunity to inspect the whole body before they take it for a post-mortem. "They could have been shown the whole body if they had failed to identify him by viewing only the face. Maybe if he had a mark somewhere on the body that the family could identify him with," she said.
Scarface died on Thursday after seven months of failure to apprehend him for a series of alleged rape cases that happened between November 2011 and February this year.
According to the police, Masina was caught during a major raid by the police from a makeshift home he had built next to Mpaka.
Among the things that were found in his house were a solar panel, women’s clothes, pupils’ schoolbags and a radio.
How ‘Scarface’ operated
SIPHOFANENI – Bhekinkhosi ‘Scarface’ Masina had given his sister a whistle to blow when school knocked off so he could ambush pupils he wanted to rape.
At the time when pupils of Em-notfweni Primary School were in class, Scarface would be hiding in nearby bushes waiting to hear the whistle.
The Principal, Juliana Lushaba said she only learnt about this when other pupils started reporting that their colleague was in a habit they failed to understand, that of blowing a whistle when they were heading home.
She said the pupils reported that there was a man they would see from afar in the bushes. "I then called the pupil and asked her about blowing the whistle and she revealed that it was a special assignment she had been given by her brother to alert him that the pupils were now about to take their various routes to their homes," she said.
Lushaba said she informed the community police who conducted a search in the forests and found a sleeping mat and blanket in a shrub. She said the community police also took the whistle from the girl but they failed to catch Scarface.
In an interview conducted in the Lushaba’s presence, the Grade III pupil, *Nomvula, said this happened shortly after her late brother returned home from prison. "He would threaten to stab me with a knife if I did not blow the whistle," said Nomvula.
She said she was afraid to tell anyone about this because she feared she would be killed. Nomvula said at times her brother would tell her who exactly he wanted to rape on a particular day.
She said Scarface would leave home to hide in the forests next to the school when knock-off time was approaching so that he would hear the whistle.
The Masina homestead is situated about a kilometre away from the school. At the moment the Masina home is minded by a 15-year-old girl who is the eighth-born in the family.
The Swazi News gathered that she lives by herself as her stepmother left sometime last year together with her three biological children.
*Not her real name
... His death shocks family
SITEKI – The family of alleged serial rapist Bhekinkhosi ‘Scarface’ Masina is saddened by his death.Upon identifying the body at Good Shepherd Hospital mortuary, yesterday morning, Masina’s aunt Jabhile Masina wept hysterically. In a brief interview, Masina said she was saddened by ‘Scar-face’s death adding that the whole family is shocked. "Despite his criminal acts he is a member of the family and we are saddened by his death," she said, while wiping tears from her eyes.
She further confirmed that it is indeed ‘Scarface’ who was shot dead by the police Thursday afternoon, while in his hideout at Mpaka. The Masina family had gone to the mortuary to identity his body. They were accompanied by three police officers, two from Siphofaneni Police sSation and the other from Siteki Police Station.
From the mortuary the family was driven to the Regional Administration offices where it is said they had a brief meeting with Lubombo Regional Commander John Lukhele. At the mortuary, police officers refused that the family be interviewed, saying the media should visit them at Mahlabatsini at Siphofaneni.
According to police Public Relations Officer (PRO) Superintendent Wendy Hleta, Masina was shot on the thigh, just below the buttocks, while trying to flee from police who were ordering him to stop.
He was certified dead upon reaching Good shepherd hospital.
‘Police warned us against crying at morgue’
SIPHOFANENI – The police are alleged to have warned Bhekinkhosi ‘Scarface’ Masina’s relatives not to cry when they saw his body at the mortuary.
Jabhile Masina, nee Ma-mba, said she completely broke down when she laid her eyes on her nephew’s face in the mortuary at Good Shepherd Hospital yesterday.
"The police told me that weeping was not allowed in there and they threatened to lock me up if I continued to cry," she said.
Jabhile was fetched to identify the body because she was the only elderly member of the family remaining, after Scarface’s stepmother identified as LaShongwe left her marital home due to alleged ill-treatment by the police at the time when they were searching for Scarface.
She said she held back tears and managed to confirm to the police that it was indeed Scarface on the drawer.
Busisiwe Masina, who was also in Masina’s company at the mortuary, said the police said, "Yegogo akukhalwa lapha sitawusuke sikubophe tsine," which translates to a warning not to cry in that place and a threat to arrest.
Superintendent Wendy Hle-ta, the Police Spokesperson, said she doubted if the police made these statements.
She said, "The police are also human beings and they know very well that relatives are bound to mourn the death of their loved one no matter the circumstances."
Family has no funds for funeral
SIPHOFANENI – The Masina family does not have the means to bury Bhekinkhosi ‘Scarface’ Masina due to poverty.
Jabhile Masina, ‘Scarface’s aunt has five grandchildren to look after and their parents are either deceased or unemployed. They live in a homestead with only three detached rooms that are so dilapidated one sees through inside from outside.
Masina’s parental home is a one room house that has no door and windows as it was abandoned following the death of his parents who died 10 years apart. His sisters are said to be staying far from their parental home also with no jobs. Just recently, his brother Xolani, who is the seventh in the family, was arrested for charges related to rape. Moreover Masina’s youngest sister said she lived on handouts from neighbours or often goes without food in the kitchen for weeks. "However I do eat at school on weekdays," she said.
The area’s Member of Parliament Gundwane Gamedze said the family was struggling to make ends meet. He said the main challenge was a coffin because no one can afford it among the family members. "I wish people could help us because we are facing a hard situation," he said.
On this, the police mouthpiece Wendy Hleta said the police have never assisted in funerals before. He said in cases where a death resulted from a police inquiry the state does not incur any costs.