Dismembered Soweto woman’s torso still missing

Flavio Hlabangwane was arrested in November after the body parts were discovered inside the fridge in a back room he was renting in Protea Glen.

Flavio Hlabangwane was arrested in November after the body parts were discovered inside the fridge in a back room he was renting in Protea Glen. Tebogo Monama

WARNING: This articles contains graphic descriptions that may upset sensitive readers
  • Tshepang Pitse’s dismembered body was found in her lover’s fridge in Soweto. 
  • Her head was found buried in a shallow grave. Her torso is still missing. 
  • On Friday, Flavio Hlabangwane appeared in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on murder charges. 

After DNA tests confirmed her identity, Tshepang Pitse’s family was finally able to bury her in July – nearly a year after her dismembered body was found in her lover’s fridge.

But the family buried an incomplete body as her torso is still missing, and her alleged murderer has not said what happened to it.

Pitse, 23, was found murdered and dismembered.

Her body parts were discovered in her lover and cousin Flavio Hlabangwane’s deep freezer in Soweto.

They were discovered by Hlabangwane’s girlfriend, who then screamed for help.

On Friday, Hlabangwane, 28, appeared in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on murder charges.

He was arrested in November.

According to the indictment, the two were lovers, and Pitse complained several times to a friend that Hlabangwane hit her and threatened her.

READ | Soweto man appears in court after human remains found in fridge

The couple lived together in Protea Glen, where her dismembered remains were found. She moved out in July last year to live with her father.

“Between 6 October and 13 November 2021, the accused caused the death of the deceased. He caused trauma to the face of the deceased, which is mostly related to blunt force trauma with a large, sharp object,” the indictment reads.

“He also caused additional blunt force trauma to the left temporal and occipital bones. The accused also dismembered the body parts of the deceased.”

Pitse’s head was buried in a shallow grave in Lufhereng in Protea Glen.

“The arms and legs of the deceased were placed and stored inside the deepfreeze (sic) of the accused at the crime scene. The remainder of the body parts of the deceased are missing.”

A postmortem could not ascertain the cause of death because her corpse was so badly decomposed.

READ | Body parts in fridge case: Murder accused makes first High Court appearance

Now  investigators want to get access to both Pitse and Hlabangwane’s electronic devices to better piece together what happened.

On Friday, during his first appearance in the high court, state prosecutor advocate Johan Badenhorst made an application to have material from two laptops and two cellphones downloaded so they can be analysed as part of the case.

Hlabangwane did not oppose the application.

According to Badenhorst, police said they could not download the data citing the Cybercrimes Act that came into effect a few weeks after Hlabangwane’s arrest. They said they needed a court order so they don’t fall foul of the law.

Judge Moleboheng Mdalana-Mayisela ruled that the police were authorised to download the material.

She said police could lawfully download the contents of the electronic devices under the Criminal Procedure Act under which they were confiscated under.

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