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Wolseley ‘serial killer’: Families of victims frustrated by another delay in trial

Siyamcela Sombambela. (Jaco Marais/Netwerk24)

Siyamcela Sombambela. (Jaco Marais/Netwerk24)

  • A 32-year-old man is accused of killing three women in the rural town.
  • The case against him has been postponed until 8 April for further investigation.
  • Last week, a third body was identified after an autopsy report was released.

A suspected serial killer, accused of killing three women and terrorising the small farming community of Wolseley in the Breede Valley, briefly appeared in the local Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

Siyamcela Sombambela, 32, is accused of killing three women in the Pine Valley informal settlement in Wolseley during October last year. He was seen dragging something, which turned out to be the body of a 20-year-old woman from the area. 

Residents alerted the police to his suspicious behaviour. A day after the incident, a passer-by discovered a shallow grave in an open field, which led police to two more bodies.

It is mostly farmworkers and seasonal workers who live in the township, where Sombambela also resided prior to his arrest on the murder charges.

The body he was dragging was found to be that of 21-year-old Bernadine Frans, who was found on 24 October. A day later, the police found the body of Miché Pienaar, 25, and Grizella Minnaar, 33, who were both buried in shallow graves.

Sombambela’s case has been postponed until 8 April for further investigation. He faces three counts of murder, and more charges are likely to be added as the investigation continues.

Sombambela has pleaded guilty to the gruesome murders last year after confessing to police. 

READ | Wolseley residents say alleged ‘serial killer’ laughed, waved at them from police van

Last week, an autopsy report identified Minnaar as the third victim after DNA tests were conducted. Minnaar’s and Pienaar’s bodies were both found in graves. Pienaar had gone missing a few days prior to her body being discovered. 

Speaking to News24, Pienaar’s mother Francis said the ongoing postponements had made her very emotional and  sad.

“There’s always an issue in the case. This is now the fourth time the case has been postponed, and I want it to end because it really makes me sad.”

She said the victims’ families wanted closure.

“The way Miché died has really hurt me. She died in the most horrific way, so brutal, and no one deserves that. I miss her a lot. Before she had gone missing, I had told her she needed to start looking after me because I’m 65 years old.”

Now Pienaar is raising her daughter’s four-year-old son.

READ MORE | Man in Wolseley allegedly caught dragging body of young woman, then cops discover 2 more bodies

Wolseley community leader Jacob Zalie told News24 that residents were very disappointed that the case continued to be delayed.

“When we arrived at the court, they are just wasting time and there is nothing we can do. We have arranged a meeting with the local police commander to inform him about the community’s grievances. We really feel the police are failing us. Time has been wasted and we have to wait for justice to be served.”

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