Darkness has fallen by the time Zandile parks the unmarked police car with tinted windows down the street from Kasi Chef’s house.
“Kasi Chef hasn’t switched on the lights,” says Gloria.
“Maybe he is still sleeping. He said he was tired. We’ll wait and see,” says Zandile.
An hour into the stakeout, Gloria’s cellphone lights up. Concern engulfs her face as she listens, then speaks. She drops the call, looking worried.
“Bathandwa has tonsillitis,” says Gloria. “The nanny took her to the doctor in the morning but the medication she got isn’t working. She is still burning up.”
“Shame,” says Zandile. “No problem, Gloria. Go attend to your little princess. I’ll manage on my own here. Commander Ncube said the other detectives will be here soon to relieve us.” She looks at her watch. “I’ll manage for an hour before they get here. Nothing is happening here anyway.”
“Thanks, Zan. Do you know any doctors open at this hour?”
“No, it’s only hospitals,” says Zandile. “I hope Bathandwa gets better.”
Gloria calls her brother who lives in a nearby section to come pick her up and within minutes he has arrived.
“Thanks for this, Zan. I’ll keep you posted on how Bathandwa is doing. I just hope the other team gets here on time to relieve you,” says Gloria, as she closes the car door.
Zandile looks through binoculars at Kasi Chef’s house. Nothing has happened in all the hours they have been here. She begins to doubt that he is even inside the house.
She takes out a copy of the Kasi Chef’s statement and reads it again – and something that Kasi Chef said jumps out: ‘I have not slept at all for these three days.’
Zandile finds herself talking out loud, alone in the car. “How can the stress of your missing wife keep you up for three days but on TV you said she has been missing for two days? And this past tense you used when speaking about your wife, Kasi Chef? And this multi-million rand life insurance? And the fights you had – that you failed to mention to us?”
She scans Kasi Chef’s house with binoculars once more. Seeing nothing is happening at the house she resumes rambling to herself. “What did you do with her, Kasi Chef? The life insurance won’t pay if there is no body.”
The headlights of a car passing by snap her out of these ramblings. She flips her seat flat so that to a passing car, it seems her car is empty. She lies looking at the stars through the windscreen.
Her mind wanders. She has a growing suspicion that Kasi Chef himself is somehow involved in his wife’s disappearance, but another part of her mind just can’t get around to believing it. She can’t reconcile the beloved public persona with the deed she suspects him of committing.
“Could you have just snapped and killed your wife, Kasi Chef?” she mumbles, alone in her car.
Zandile sits up when she hears herself rambling again. The lights have been switched on in Kasi Chef’s house. She focuses her binoculars, scans the house and sees Kasi Chef opening the large front door. He sits down on the steps in front of the door. He lights a cigarette and scrolls his cellphone.
He continues with this for a while, then tosses the cigarette butt. Zandile watches his fingers as he holds the cellphone with both hands. He seems to be typing something.
On a hunch Zandile unlocks the screen on her own cellphone. She checks Kasi Chef’s profiles across all social media platforms. Her hunch is proven correct because he has just posted and all his posts read the same. All are accompanied by the same photo of his missing wife.
The post reads:
This is my wife and she is still missing. Please help us find her. If anyone has information on her whereabouts please contact these numbers below. Thank you for your support during this challenging time.
Kasi Chef goes back into his house. Zandile tracks his replies to comments on his social media posts from her cellphone. The man sounds genuine and truly concerned, if these replies are to be believed.
After a while the comments stop. The lights are switched off in a few bedrooms on the bottom floor. He is calling it a night, Zandile thinks. She picks up the binoculars for a closer look.
She expects to see the lights in the other rooms switching off as well but they remain on. She scans with the binoculars and sees the garage door rolling up. Lights are not on in the garage but the door from the lounge is open, letting in a little light. It is not bright, but Zandile can recognise the tall, familiar figure of Kasi Chef.
He carries something over his shoulder. It looks large and heavy but Zandile can’t make out what it is because it is covered with a duvet. He places it in boot of his car.
Zandile may not be sure about what Kasi Chef just carried into the boot of his car but she is sure about what Kasi Chef takes from a shelf near the open door that’s letting some light into the garage.
It’s an axe and a large saw.
Kasi Chef gets in his car. The gates open. Zandile lies flat as Kasi Chef drives past her. She looks in the rear-view mirror to see which way Kasi Chef turns. As soon as he joins the main road Zandile starts her car and follows him.
Tell us what you think: What is Kasi Chef up to?