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MBABANE – Mystery!

This best describes the situation where skeletal remains, believed to be of a businessman who was reported missing about two years ago, were discovered. The remains of the businessman, who has been identified as John-Mark Sithebe, were discovered by the police on Monday afternoon, in one of the rooms at his family home at Dalriach, Mbabane.
Sithebe was reported missing in December 2020 by the media. This was after a close family friend published a missing person’s notice in one of the social media platforms, which was later picked up by local media. His wife was not pleased that the family member had not consulted with her after publishing the notice on social media.


After about two years of his whereabouts being unknown, his remains have since been found. Information gathered by this publication was to the effect that neighbours to the deceased’s family home were the ones who called the police to come and check out the house, as it seemed abandoned for a long time. Infact, the neighbours, who said they had settled in the suburban area over a year ago, disclosed that they had not seen any activity within the homestead since they had arrived. What made them even more curious was a vehicle, believed to have been driven by the deceased on the day he was last seen, which was still parked in the same position for over a year.


As such, the concerned neighbours at Dalriach suspected that something was amiss in the residence, which was abandoned, yet there was a motor vehicle parked within the yard. The house belongs to the Sithebe family and it is where the human remains, believed to be those of Sithebe, were discovered. Information gathered from some of the neighbours was that the house had been neglected for a long time. Giving an account about the house, the neighbours revealed that there had not been any activity at the residence, except for a young man who would visit in the company of others to cut overgrown grass and clear the yard.

According to the neighbours, the car which was found parked within the yard was said to have been used by the young man. However, they said for sometime the young man in question had not visited the house and the car had remained parked, something that raised suspicions as to what was going on, which resulted in the police being called. The neighbours revealed that on Monday afternoon, police officers arrived to clear the bush next to the gate in order to gain entry. They stated that the police came out of the house carrying a white body bag, which they loaded in the back of their van. The neighbours also stated that on Monday night, a certain woman arrived and towed the car which had been parked in the yard.


Meanwhile, the neighbours mentioned that there was something strange about the house, which they did not understand until the remains were discovered. “As a family, we would have sleepless nights but never got an answer why that was happening. At times we would all sleep in the sitting room together due to fear.” The neighbours further stated that they hoped that they would be able to sleep, as they had finally found closure on the creepy feeling about the neglected house next door.  When reached for comment, one of the relatives, Robert Sithebe stated that he was not comfortable speaking on the matter and was still engaging the police.  Robert said he was busy attending to his brother’s case and consulting with the police. He stated that he would be able to give a comment once he was done assisting the police.

The wife to the deceased was also reached by this publication to give clarity on the matter, but elected not to comment. “My husband of 30 years had been missing and was discovered on Monday. Put yourself in my situation,” she said briefly. The wife said she was still grieving and had not even spoken to the family yet. The late businessman was an experienced sugar, ethanol bio-energy manufacturing specialist.

Royal Eswatini Sugar (RES) Corporation Group Public Affairs Manager Sifiso Nyembe said Sithebe joined the then RSSC during his youthful years and developed his career within the company. He cut his teeth as a young engineer at the Simunye factory and progressed to be general manager (GM) manufacturing before ending up as GM strategy. In 2015, he took early retirement and left RES Corporation. Nyembe said the news of his demise cut deep in his former colleagues across the business,which spent many memorable years with him. “We send our condolences to his family during this tragic moment,” he said. Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati said Sithebe was reported missing about two years ago at Lobamba Police Station, and he was not found until what was believed to be his remains was discovered on Monday.


Vilakati said through the assistance of the neighbours, they were able to find his remains. When asked if the police suspected any element of crime in the death of Sithebe, Vilakati said that would be determined by the ongoing investigations. It was gathered that the house where the remains were found was not often used by the family. At the time when Sithebe was reported missing, he was residing around the Ezulwini area, hence the case was reported at Lobamba. However, information gathered from sources was to the effect that the police had visited the family homestead at Dalriach but at the time, did not find anything amiss. “It’s unclear if they did a thorough search of the house though,” the source said.

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