SAPS MEDIA CENTRE yesterday afternoon reported the sad news that they have found the body of Gideon Mativo, the local man who has been missing since 25 June. Four arrests have been made in the case, including one man who is suspected of being the murderer. This same man led SAPS to Gideon’s body which had been placed in a ditch and covered up.
Gideon, a well-liked man whom many will remember from Sedgefield’s Mosaic Market and his jewellery stall at Eden Meander, left home late on that Saturday afternoon to go and pay wages, but never returned.
As the evening wore on and she was unable to reach him on his cell phone his wife Caroline became more and more concerned, and eventually called the police. A friend of the family reports that she had then been told by the SAPS member on duty that she would have to wait 24 hours before she could report a missing person.
A case was finally opened at Conville Police Station, and an extensive search was undertaken. Fears grew worse for Caroline and their three children when SAPS discovered Gideon’s vehicle, a Nissan Qashqai, burnt out in a field near Thembalethu. It had been stripped of its wheels and various other parts.
The investigation extended further, including the search of several small dams in the area by police divers. This joint operation was eventually to include SAPS members from Conville, George, and Thembalethu stations, as well as the Hawks Organised Crime Unit, the Outeniqua Canine Unit and several detectives from the Eden Cluster.
Eventually there was a break-through when police found car parts belonging to the Mativo’s vehicle. This led to the arrest of three suspects on Monday 11 July and a further arrest of the murder suspect the following day. This suspect led the SAPS detectives to where Gideon’s body had been hidden in a ditch near Ballots Bay. He had been stabbed several times in the upper body.
Captain Malcolm Poje said that the four suspects will be in court on Thursday 14 July, facing various charges including murder, theft, and malicious damage to property. He said that Cluster Commander Oswald Reddy offered condolences to Caroline and her family, and commended the SAPS members involved in the investigation for their dedication to bringing the suspects to book and giving the family closure at last.