Police are searching for a couple on a weekend break who vanished from Port St Johns together with their luxury car and three cellphones.
The couple are 52-year-old OR Tambo district municipality employee Lusindiso “Ali” Poyo, and 39-year old Ingquza Hill municipal employee Nolwazi Mkhize.
PSJ police spokeswoman Captain Nozuko Handile yesterday confirmed that police were searching for the couple and the white BMW X5 in which they were last seen travelling.
The couple were on a weekend getaway and had checked in at the town’s River Lodge on Friday evening, according to family and a close family friend.
They were supposed to check out on Sunday but were last seen by staff on Saturday morning when they drove out of the lodge in a KwaZulu-Natal registered white BMW X5 SUV, leaving luggage and other belongings in their apartment.
They were also seen at a family gathering in Thombo village in the PSJ district.
Handile said a police manhunt, including the dog unit team from Mthatha, had so far yielded no results.
Handile said a missing persons case had been opened and a task team of crime intelligence and crime prevention detectives “was working around the clock in a bid to get to the bottom of this mystery”.
Poyo, who also owns a house in Margate in KwaZulu-Natal, is from Thombo Village in PSJ, while Mkhize hails from Flagstaff.
Mkhize’s sister Bongi Mkhize yesterday told the Daily Dispatch that her sister had been seeing Poyo “for quite sometime” and that they had two children, aged nine and five years.
Bongi said she believed the couple decided on the weekend getaway because it was her sister’s 39th birthday last Friday, the day they checked in at River Lodge.
“I spoke to her to wish her a happy birthday on Friday morning, but she never mentioned anything about going to PSJ.”
She said her family had been informed of their disappearance by police on Sunday, adding “we got more concerned and worried when they did not return that evening”.
Poyo’s oldest daughter Onesimo placed a message on Twitter and Facebook this week pleading with anyone who had seen Poyo or the car to come forward with information.
“This is a nightmare for the family. We have not been able to sleep properly since Sunday. This is a huge shock to all of us, especially my elderly mother and the children,” Bongi said.
Poyo’s niece Ncumisa yesterday said her uncle had last been seen at the family gathering in Thombo Village on Saturday afternoon.
Ncumisa, a teacher at PSJ, said her uncle was married with three children and that his wife was in Margate on the day they last saw him.
“He came to the family home that Saturday morning. He was with another woman whom we did not know much about.
“However, they both left at around 2pm and we don’t know where they went after they left our home,” said a tearful Ncumisa.
According to a friend of the missing woman’s family, who asked to remain anonymous, the couple had three cellphones between them when they went missing.
“As a group of friends, we also have been conducting our own separate investigation.
“We discovered that the last communication from their three cellphones was traced to three nearby villages of Majola, Qubushwayo and Bizana. However nothing came of a police follow-up,” he said.
The friend said their probe had also revealed that one of the missing cellphones was switched on in Atteridgeville township in Pretoria on Tuesday night, “but was quickly switched off a few minutes later”.
He further said that they had discovered that the 2009 BMW’s tracking system was last paid for in 2014 and so was not active at the time of the couple’s disappearance.
Another mystery surrounds the registration of the missing vehicle.
Police said the car’s registration was ND776967, while Poyo’s family said it was NPS42225 when they last saw him at the family function.
All attempts to get comment from River Lodge, OR Tambo and Ingquza Hill municipalities, had been unsuccessful at the time of writing. — firstname.lastname@example.org