UPDATE: Body of missing woman found in office at Eskom rallies community to demand answers

The body of Lucia Thembisile Yende (29) was found in her office at Eskom’s Pieterboth substation, in Struisbult, on Monday night.

Thembisile was reported missing at the Duduza Police Station on May 17.

According to police, she was found with a plastic bag around her head and a bottle of pills and a letter next to her body.

Duduza police spokesperson Sgt Harry Manaka says the discovery of her body came as a shock because a day after she was reported missing, members of the dog unit searched the Eskom premises but did not find her.

Family of Thembisile and community members outside the Pieterboth Eskom substation, demanding answers about her death from the company.

“Her office was also searched that day and she was not found,” he says adding: “The company vehicle she was driving was, however, found.

“It was in a parking bay at the substation and was locked.

“There was no sign of the woman and her cellphone was switched off.”

Manaka says they were shocked when they received a call from an employee at Eskom, on Monday at 4pm, about a bad smell coming from Thembisile’s office.

“The office was locked and when police gained entry they found her badly decomposed body inside.

“There was a bottle of pills and a letter next to her, which we initially suspected was a suicide note.

“However, upon investigation we decided to open a murder investigation.

“According to Eskom, Thembisile had not reported for work but the vehicle tracker shows the vehicle had been parked at the substation for over 12 hours,” Manaka says.

The deceased’s brother, Mboneni Yende, says they are demanding answers from Eskom.

“When we demanded to see the CCTV surveillance footage, we were told it was switched off that day.

https://twitter.com/McLloyd_Clinton/status/869446406767083522

“We were at the premises last Thursday and people were working as if nothing was wrong.

“If her body had been there for 13 days why didn’t anyone smell her decomposing body before now?”

On Tuesday morning, the family and community members picketed outside the substation, demanding answers about the young woman’s disappearance and death.

Family and community members picketing outside the Pieterboth Eskom substation, in Springs, after the body of Thembisile Yende was found in her office on Monday evening.

Mboneni says: “ The latest developments prove our suspicions that she was killed by someone within the company who knows the premises well.

“The motorised gate wasn’t working, meaning Thembisile would have had to manually open the gate to enter and exit the premises.

“She was the only person working in the substation and the security guard was only deployed at night.

“The cameras were also not working, which indicates the company didn’t care about her security,” he says.

Mboneni says they will continue to picket until they get Eskom’s attention.

Gauteng provincial infrastructure portfolio chairperson Lindiwe Lasindwa says she is puzzled the deceased was found dead in her workplace.

“I don’t understand how a young woman was deployed in such a remote area without any security.

“The motorised gate was only fixed after she was reported missing,” she says.

She is pleading with Eskom’s employees to feel the pain the family is going through.

“Let us all act responsibly and assist the police with information about the perpetrators,” she says.

The relevant person at Eskom could not be reached for comment at the time of publishing.

Community members and the local ANC branch calling for the safety of women and children after Thembisile Yende was found dead in her office at the Pieterboth Eskom substation.

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  AUTHOR
Doreen Mokgolo
Journalist

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