Mystery of KZN sailor’s death

2011-10-22 00:00

HOW did Halalishani Mtshali (21) of Richards Bay die, his hacked body found as a mere torso, in Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies?

Mtshali, who was on a 10-month working holiday aboard a luxury yacht owned by Englishman Roy Bashforth, was reported to have fallen off a pier to his death.

The condition of his remains is the subject of an investigation and his family is reported saying that time is running out to raise the R60 000 needed to bring the badly decomposing corpse home.

His head and hands were missing.

Mtshali’s sister-in-law, Nonhlanhla, said they found his death very sinister and have asked the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco) to intervene on their behalf.

Before undertaking the trip Mtshali worked at the Zululand Yacht Club in Richards Bay where he helped Bashforth, a regular visitor to SA.

Club controller Jan Smit said he used to work with Mtshali on Bashforth’s boat while it was docked at the club.

He said that in about 2009 the two became friends, to the point that the youngster would be called “Roy’s son”.

“Roy invited the young man to be part of his crew about two years ago. They left for Brazil and in July this year they left for Trinidad and Tobago. What would have happened eventually is that Roy would have bought a flight ticket for Halalishani to fly back home. [Roy] … was in his 70s and he also had a bit of a problem with his hands.

“News of Halalishani’s death came as a shock for all those who knew the young man,” said Smit.

He said the water in Trinidad and Tobago is not clear and has strong currents. “Still, the area is a favourite destination for yachtsmen,” he said.

Mtshali’s friend, Sfiso Luthuli, reportedly said that on September 29, a day after he had spoken to his friend, he was informed by an unknown caller that Mtshali was sick.

When the caller phoned again Bashforth came on the line and said Mtshali had fallen off a pier and died.

In August last year the decapitated bodies of a woman and a boy were discovered at a Forres Park landfill in Claxton Bay, not far from where Mtshali’s remains were found.

Investigators believe they may have been a mother and her son. The heads of the unidentified victims were never found.

Reports of cult killings and voodoo-related murders are reportedly not uncommon in Trinidad and Tobago.

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