Cape Town – Police are investigating the disappearance of a Congolese woman after she allegedly fled a would-be bridegroom who duped her into thinking he was rich.
Joel Kayembe, 20, was allegedly brought to Cape Town from the Congo under the pretext that she was going to marry a wealthy husband.
Pastor Sylvester Kalambay, 50, and his wife Naomi, who cared for Kayembe when she first fled the would-be husband, said her trouble started when she discovered that the man she was supposed to marry was not 30 years old but 47, unemployed, and unable to give her a good life.
According to the couple, the woman called off the wedding and on numerous occasions in their presence told the husband-to-be that the wedding was off.
The Kalambays contacted Kayembe’s family in Congo, who told them their daughter would be killed if she returned home. According to the pastor’s wife, the matter took a turn for the worse last Friday when the would-be groom allegedly threatened them at their home.
“He told us that he was going to kill us if we didn’t hand over his parcel (Kayembe). He came to our apartment in Parow with a couple of tsotsis.
“He even went as far as to assault my husband in the street, but neighbours intervened.
“On Monday, he and his friends walked around the flats and searched the entire area for Joel.
“Luckily, Joel was working at my stall on Greenmarket Square. Later in the afternoon he arrived at my stall but Joel saw him first and fled. We haven’t heard from her and don’t know where she is,” the wife said.
The pastor said: “I’m scared they will come and kill me or my wife. I don’t know what to expect from him. All that we want is for the safe return of Joel,” the pastor said.
Western Cape Street Children’s Forum co-ordinator Janice Sparg has also raised her concerns about Joel’s disappearance and said it could be part of human trafficking.
She has also been assisting pastor Kalambay and his wife in taking this matter further.
Western Cape Human Rights commissioner Chris Nissen said: “Our mandate is very clear in that we need to protect the rights of everyone, including foreigners.
“The husband-to-be can be charged with human trafficking because he brought her to South Africa under false pretences.
“The police need to do everything in their power to find this missing woman and if found she needs to get a protection order against the perpetrator.”
Cape Town police on Thursday confirmed they were investigating the disappearance of Kayembe.