Johannes Ramadzhia, whose body was found floating in the Luvuvhu River. Photo supplied.

Family wants answers after man's body is found in river

News - Date: 21 June 2024


The last time Johannes Ramadzhia (61) of Tshino village outside Vuwani was seen alive was on Wednesday, 12 June. He disappeared, leaving his family members with the hope that he would come back as usual, but that was not to be. On Monday, 16 June, his family woke up to the sad news of his passing. His lifeless body was found floating in the local Luvuvhu River. The body was discovered by fishermen who were fishing in the river.

His death has left the family and the community with unanswered questions. The dead man’s brother, Mr Isaac Sukumani, said he strongly believed his brother had been murdered somewhere else and his body dumped in the river. “On that particular morning, he came to my house and the helper prepared breakfast for him. As a mental-care patient, he told the helper his ‘soldiers were waiting for him,’ but he left without telling anybody where he was going,” he said.

Ramadzhia did not return, however, and his brother reported him as missing to the local headman. “Seeing he was not coming back, on Saturday, 15 June, I decided to open a missing person docket at the local Vuwani Police Station,” he said.

Sukumani explained that his brother had battled with a mental illness and had on previous occasions disappeared for some time. He would then go to a nearby place and return later. “But this time he did not. I have some doubt as to how he walked the more than two kilometres to where his body was found,” he said.

Sukumani added that he was surprised that, out of all the places, he had chosen the biggest pool of the river. “We have no doubt that he did not walk to the area. He also did not drown as his stomach was not bulging. We need answers. I am a strong person, but his death left me in unbearable pain. My wish is that a thorough investigation be conducted, so we know what actually happened to him. To add to our pain, we will have to wait for DNA results that could take a long time,” Sukumani said.

Community leader Mr Alex Ndou, who was at the scene and pulled the body out of the water, said the body did not show signs of drowning. “If he indeed drowned, his stomach would have been full of water. We strongly believe that something happened to him. He was killed somewhere and his body dumped here. We urge all with information about the incident to come forward and assist the police. We need to get the truth about this shocking incident,” he said.

Vhembe SAPS spokesperson W/O Vuledzani Dathi confirmed that the police are investigating the death of the 61-year-old man. He urged anyone with information that can assist the police to direct it to the investigating officer, Sgt Mikateko Chabalala at 071-533 3994.

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Elmon Tshikhudo

Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and was a permanent part of the news team until 2019. He currently writes on a freelance basis, covering human rights issues, court news and entertainment.