Killed for ‘pure’ muthi

2015-03-09 00:00

THREE children have been found dead, with missing body parts, in the past few months in KwaZulu-Natal alone.

With another three suspected dead and used for muthi, the total of such murders has risen to six this year.

“Enough is enough.”

One of the six victims was Nompilo Zuma, who went missing from Mpophomeni last year in May 2014 and whose body was found on June 1in a river.

Her mother spoke out after the severed hands of two ­children were found in Mpophomeni two weeks ago. “Her body was found in the river. Her eyes were missing and her throat had been cut,” saidanemotional Thabisile Zuma. Zuma said when her daughter was found with her eyes missing, Sheimmediately suspects her daughter was killed for muthi.

a few kilometers from where she lived.

he devastated mother of four said her daughter and two friends had left home to sell second-hand clothing around Mpophomeni in early May the day she disappeared

Nompilo’s friends told Zumathat her daughter had been approached by a man who asked to walk home with her, and that was the last time she had seen

Zuma has made the trip from her home in Dargle to the Mpophomeni ­police station every monthsince her daughter’s body was found to ask if there is any progress in the case.

Shesaid she finally decided to speak out about her daughter’s death after The Witness reportedlast month that two hands suspected to be those of an infant and a young child had beenwere found floating in Umgeni River in Mpophomeni, along with bark and herbs traditionally used for muthi.

Police spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane said a case of murder was opened at Mpophomeni after Nompilo’s body was found. but said only one of her eyes were missing.

“No arrests have been made. The ­motive for the killing is unknown,” he said.

Last year In December,young boy Khanyisani Khumalo (6) went missing in mid-December in Vryheid last year and was found later that month, decapitated and with his intestines missing.

Last year in July, the remains of ­Lungisani Ntuli (4) were found in a church in Pongola.

Bongani Zulu, a practising inyanga of five years, said the practice of people ­being killed for muthi was more ­common than people realised.

He Zulusaidthatthe act of using body parts for muthi waswitch craftand black magic and not practised among fully qualified sangomas and inyangas.

“It is happening in Mpophomeni and more often in Greytown. There have been a few cases where bodies have been found with their tongues missing,” he said.

Zulu said peoplewho were looking for spells to “get rich quick” would approach a witch doctor, who would then tell them which body part was needed. for the spell.

“The person who wants the spell done will extract the body part from their victim while the victim is still alive, as it is believed it makes the medicine more powerful, and then present it to the witch doctor.”

Zulu, who was previously a paramedic with KZN EMRS, said he had often attended muthi murder scenes and the body parts that were most often removed were the genitals.

“The new thing among witch doctors it appears is to harvest the tongue,” he said.

University of KwaZulu-Natal ­criminologist Professor Robert Peacock said witch doctors often require parts from children as they were considered the most “pure”.

“A human head will fetch around R1 000 in the muthi market. All of ­people’s energy is focused on the witch doctor, but as long as there is a buyer, there will be a demand,” said Peacock.

People in the Mpophomeni community and ­surrounding areas have said they haveheard that taxi bosses use body parts as ­medicine for protection.

A senior Umngeni official, who would not be named, said he knew two men who had left the taxi business “because of the muthi”.

However, Santaco KZN chairperson Boy Zondi said he had never heard of taxi bosses using body parts for ­medicine — they were “just rumours” and people were “lying”.

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