When a wife was not seen the day after neighbours heard an argument the previous evening, their suspicions were aroused.
As they approached the property the next day, they were hit by a foul smell — and bloodstains.
Limpopo police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said the woman’s husband is under arrest on a charge of allegedly murdering his wife and burying her body in a shallow grave.
The 32-year-old suspect will on Monday appear in the Giyani magistrate’s court.
Explaining how the 53-year-old woman’s body was found, Mojapelo said: “The local residents apparently became curious when they noticed that there were no movements in the yard for the entire day on Wednesday. This after the couple was allegedly heard arguing the previous evening at around 9.30pm.
“On Thursday morning, they then decided to check what was going on and on entering the premises, traces of bloodstains were allegedly seen through the window of the house.
“Some of community members were met by an unpleasant smell coming from a shack that has been erected in front of the house. They then decided to forcefully open the door of the shack after their calls went unanswered, and discovered the shallow grave.”
They alerted the police. Her body was exhumed from the shallow grave that was dug inside the shack.
A manhunt was launched and the suspect was arrested on Friday afternoon.
The deceased is believed to be from Kwamashu in KwaZulu-Natal. Mojapelo said her identity cannot be divulged at this stage as her family is still being traced.
The motive for the murder has not yet been established, but domestic violence has not been ruled out, said police.
Limpopo police commissioner Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba thanked the neighbours for their actions.
“The arrest of this suspect and the actions that were taken by the local residents are commendable and should send a clear message that [alleged] perpetrators of gender-based violence and femicide will not have any place to hide. We urge our communities to continue working with the police by reporting crimes that take place in their localities.”