UPDATE: Harding bank manager burned alive: Four suspects arrested

Thembi Memela (37) SUBMITTED

UPDATE: April 21

TOP detective work by Harding detectives  resulted in the arrest of four men in Klerksdorp on Thursday this week for the murder.

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Yesterday (Thursday) Sergeant Lucky Gumede, Sergeant Robert Machi and Constable Musa Mbanjwa, from Harding police, made the arrests.

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They were assisted by officers from the  Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) Organised Crime Unit in the North West province.

The four suspects will be brought to Harding where they will face charges of murder and kidnapping.

The cluster commander of Ugu, Major General Sethenya Nxamagele, praised the officers who effected the arrests and commended them for their thorough investigation of the case.

UPDATE: April 4

POLICE have released the identikit of the two men who are believed to be responsible for the gruesome death of the Harding bank manager, Thembi Memela (37) on February 19. (Read the full story below).

Lindelani  ‘Skippa’ Ngubelanga, Simiso Thuli and Nhlanhla Ndadane may be able to assist police in the investigation.

Information can be forwarded to the investigating officer, Detective Sergeant R S Machi at 039 4339637, the nearest police station, or by calling 10111.

Thembi Memela (37) SUBMITTED



A HARDING teenager had to watch helplessly as her mother burnt to death after the pair was kidnapped from their home in Machi Location during the early hours of Monday this week.

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This tragedy, the second brutal murder in two days, sent shockwaves through the Harding community.

The burnt body of Thembi Memela (37), a bank manager at Nedbank Harding and mother of three, was discovered near a river in Kokstad later that day.

“Ms Memela was at home with her two daughters when three men entered the house, their faces covered, ” said police spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Zandra Wiid .

“They covered the 14-year-old daughter and her mother with blankets and took them to Ms Memela’s car which was parked outside. Ms Memela was forced into the boot and the kidnappers drove off towards Kokstad.

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“They then stopped next to a river, poured petrol over both mother and daughter and set them alight,” added Lt-Col Wiid.

The young girl managed to escape and jumped into the river. As soon as the men left, still in Ms Memela’s car,  she made her way to the police station and reported the incident.

The vehicle has still not been recovered and Harding police are investigating.

Second murder

In another murder in the town, a taxi boss (28) was gunned down by two men in Holman Street last Saturday night.  It is believed that a provincial task team is dealing with taxi violence-related cases and will be investigating the murder.

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Family in shock

Speaking to the Herald on Wednesday, Ms Memela’s distraught brother Mduduzi described her murder as ‘cruel’.

“The entire family is in shock. My family has never been hurt like this before. Why would someone do this to my sister? We are hurt and hope justice will take its course,” he said.

He added his niece is recovering in hospital and it was ‘sad to see her covered with bandages’.

Ms Memela’s funeral takes place this Saturday.


Those living in the town fear for their safety.

“There’s no law and order in Harding. People are selling drugs everywhere, including outside schools. There is no visible policing and we are very concerned,” said one businessman.

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Crime discussed

In January a meeting about crime-related issues was held. The meeting was attended by the station commander of Harding SAPS and other senior officers, members of the business sector and other authorities.

“It would not be correct to say there is ‘no law and order’ in Harding, as arrests are made on a daily basis for drug and liquor-related offences, illegal immigrants, stolen property, unlicensed firearms and other crimes,” said Lt-Col Wiid.

She added the majority of the murders reported are stabbings which occur after drinking sprees, and which are of a domestic nature.

She went on to say that although the station commander had been absent from the station, he had resumed duties on Monday this week.

She urged anyone who has any crime concerns to contact her at 082 4177363.

The police had also increased their crime prevention capacity in Harding and operations would be held to address common robberies and break-ins at business premises, she added.

The station commander would also work with local authorities to look at installing CCTV cameras to help fight crime in the area.


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Sugan Naidoo

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