A South African immigrant from Italy, Vivien Ponté, has fallen victim to the psychopathic murders of whites by blacks in the country. The resident of Oranjeville, a small Free State town, was killed after probably being tied up, raped and strangled, after which she was set alight on her own double bed.
The Johannesburg daily Beeld published a photograph of the 57-year old Ponté’s charred bed in the house where she lived. Her equally burnt body was discovered on Monday morning around 10.00 a.m. by police after being alerted by her gardener who became alarmed at not seeing her up early as was her habit. Burn marks were also visible on the outside of the house above the windows.
According to Beeld, the murdered woman was a pharmacist by training but her neighbours did not know exactly where she worked. They expressed their shock at the vicious killing in their midst. Oranjeville is a peaceful hamlet village next the Vaal Dam where nothing much happens.
The Italian-born woman, who came to South Africa with her parents at the age of six, was unmarried and childless, living alone in the spacious house on the edge of the Vaal Dam.
Robbery seems to have been the motive as the house was looted, with Ponté’s neatly filed documents strewn all over the floor. However, only the main bedroom was torched.
A neighbour went inside with the police to investigate. Upon discovering the corpse, however, the police told her not to go inside as the scene was one of macabre and indescribable cruelty. Despite the black soot disfiguring Ponté’s tastefully decorated bedroom, blood stains could still be discerned here and there.
A spokesman for the police, Constable Peter Kareli, described it as a “horrible murder”.
The community of Oranjeville was shocked by the grisly incident and speculation was rife as to how it could have happened as neighbours normally look out for one another and any black strangers in town are normally closely monitored.
However, Ponté was a known philanthropist who regularly visited the black squatter camp outside Oranjeville where she handed out food parcels, gave art lessons and contributed financially, leading a resident to remark: “Never a good deed shall go unpunished. That is the story of South Africa. Our kind-heartedness is rewarded with sadism.”
Another resident said: “Oranjeville is a peaceful, safe town. That something like this could happen within a country town like ours, is just terrible.”
Neighbours suspect that she was attacked on Sunday night but could not recall seeing any blacks in the area. The neighbourhood dogs were normally very alert and there had not been any barking either.