4 brothers on trial for murdering ‘witch’, cop

2008-08-07 00:00

Four brothers from Msinga are appearing in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on a total of 10 charges, including the murder of a 60-year-old woman they allegedly suspected of bewitching their late mother, and the murder of a Tugela Ferry policeman who came to arrest them in 2005.

Sibangani Amon Mngoma (25), Phumlani Hlwehlwe Xaba (23), Mzothule Lucas Mngoma (23) and Musawenkosi Mngoma (26) pleaded not guilty before Acting Judge Hajra Vahed and two assessors yesterday to charges of conspiracy to commit murder, five counts of attempted murder, two counts of murder, and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition. The firearms charge applies only to Mzothule Mngoma.

The state alleges that Busisiwe Matrina Lembethe of the Simumumu area was suspected by the accused, after they consulted a traditional healer, of having bewitched their mother when she became seriously ill and died on February 19, 2005.

After her burial they allegedly conspired to avenge her death by killing Lembethe and sought the help of a friend, Sgansonso Dumakude, who initially agreed to help, but later reneged.

On the night of February 20 the accused allegedly went to Lembethe’s home and opened fire on her, wounding her. She was hospitalised and discharged a day later.

Lembethe thereafter spent nights at her sister’s home to evade her assailants, but the accused allegedly kept watch on her movements. At about 6.30 pm on March 15, they allegedly confronted her as she walked to her sister’s home, shot and killed her.

Inspector Zebedeus Jabulani Ntuli was one of the policemen assigned to investigate the murder. When he and some of his colleagues went to the accused’s home on March 18 to arrest them, they came under fire and Ntuli was shot dead.

The case is proceeding.

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