A 20-year-old KwaZulu-Natal woman was repeatedly raped and then murdered over the weekend, allegedly by her cousin and a neighbour.
Nomvula "Juba" Buthelezi was allegedly attacked by the men at her homestead in Mashesheleng in Nquthu, MEC for Social Development Nonhlanhla Khoza said on Tuesday.
"We are extremely disturbed and disheartened by the rape and murder of a young woman. It's alleged that the attack occurred on Saturday night when she had just arrived back home from the nearby shop.
"The perpetrators allegedly gagged Nomvula before dragging her to another house within the homestead where she was repeatedly raped [before being] strangled to death."
The MEC said she was "shocked" to learn that one of the alleged perpetrators was the victim's cousin.
"The mother of this young lady had assumed that she was with her aunt when she did not see her on Saturday night."
READ | KZN man, who raped daughter for 11 years, gets life sentence
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele confirmed that Nquthu police were investigating a case of murder.
"[She] was found half naked inside the house. The post-mortem will determine the cause of death."
Khoza said Buthelezi's body was discovered by family members in one of the houses in the homestead.
"It was covered in a blanket allegedly to give the impression that the person underneath it was asleep. The alleged perpetrator, the cousin, was arrested by police on Sunday while the neighbour was arrested on Monday.
ALSO READ | Six-year prison sentence handed to cop whose fingers were bitten off during attempted rape
She added that the two men knew Buthelezi well.
"Considering that one of them is her cousin who lived in the same homestead as her, there is very good reason to believe that she trusted him. These are the men who were supposed to protect her but they are the ones who violated her.
Khoza added: "Such incidents demonstrate that we are indeed a sick society. In calling for justice for Nomvula, we want to see these vicious predators rot in prison."
She said a team of social workers were dispatched to the Buthelezi family to "provide psycho-social support following the horrible incident".