Officers shamelessly take selfies with Kasi Chef as he enters the building. He is polite and forces a smile. Commander Ncube cannot hide his disappointment with his staff. TV news cameras catch some of this lack of professionalism.
Gloria leads Kasi Chef to the interview room. He looks haggard and unkempt, his eyes bloodshot. He seems lost as Gloria points him to a seat opposite hers. Zandile, Commander Ncube and two other detectives look on from the other side of the one-way glass mirror.
Kasi Chef seats his tall frame in the chair. Zandile immediately notices several plasters on his fingers. His appearance is the total opposite of the clean-shaven eye candy in his pictures on social media and magazines. He takes out a pack of cigarettes.
“Can I have an ash tray, please? And a glass of water,” says Kasi Chef.
“Sorry, this is a no smoking area,” says Gloria, looking straight at him.
Kasi Chef fixes his gaze on a top corner of the room, totally avoiding Gloria’s eyes. “Please, this stress of my missing wife is killing me. Smoking helps me de-stress, even if for just a minute,” he says.
“I’ll have to ask my superiors first,” says Gloria.
Gloria steps out of the room to the other side where Commander Ncube and Zandile are watching proceedings. She looks at her colleagues and says, “What do you guys think?”
“Has he made eye contact?” asks Zandile.
“No,” says Gloria.
“Maybe the whole situation has his mind lost,” says Commander Ncube. He looks around and finds a plastic tumbler in the rubbish bin. “OK give him this to ash the cigarette. Let him smoke and relax.”
“I agree,” says Zandile. “Just begin by asking him the usual questions for a person reporting a missing spouse. Let’s see what he has to say. Maybe as the last question, ask him what happened to his fingers. That’s way too many plasters.”
Gloria returns with water, and a plastic cup to ash the cigarette. His body relaxes as he exhales cigarette smoke. His eyes remain on the same spot in the corner of the room.
“Like I said, Mr Zulu, I’m here to take down your statement,” says Gloria. “Please answer these questions to the best of your abilities.”
“Yes, of course,” Kasi Chef nods.
“Now, can you tell us what happened?” says Gloria.
“My wife Dudu is missing.”
“When did you realise that she was missing?”
“When she missed the charity lunch two days ago. I got worried when I couldn’t reach her on her cellphone.”
“Then what did you do?”
Tell us: At this stage, why do you think the wife is missing?