‘Plan to get rich failed’ says judge

2012-03-14 00:00

THE man who kept the head of 18-year-old Loyiso Jokweni in a deepfreeze in the belief that it would “make him rich” was sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday.

“You have blood on your hands … the blood of an innocent man is crying out for revenge,” Acting Judge M.T. Ncube told Roger Thusi (30) when he sentenced him in the high court in ­Pietermaritzburg.

“You killed this young boy just because you wanted to be rich. But still you are not rich. In fact you are worse [off] than before,” he said.

Jokweni’s mother, Beatrice Jokweni, told The Witness she would not have been satisfied with anything less than life imprisonment. However, it would not bring back her son.

She has one older son, Monwabisi, who is 23.

“Loyiso was just visiting his cousin when this thing happened,” she said. He was at school at Inanda when he was killed.

Acting Judge Ncube granted Thusi leave to appeal against his conviction and sentence, saying another court might take a different view as the evidence was circumstantial.

The court found that, based on his confession to police, Thusi had formed a common purpose with a traditional healer, Mduduzi Manqele, to kill Jokweni.

Ncube said Manqele had been wrongly referred to by Thusi as a traditional healer. “A traditional healer does not kill people, but heals people,” he said. “This Manqele is actually a wizard or umtakathi … if he was an inyanga he would not have gone around killing people.”

Manqele, who is known to have a muthi practice at Mafakathini, was charged with Thusi with Jokweni’s murder, but the charge was withdrawn last year due to insufficient evidence.

Acting Judge Ncube said that when he testified, Thusi denied knowing anything about the murder or how Jokweni’s head had ended up in the freezer at the home of his girlfriend, Sonto Princess Ndlovu, at France on January 28, 2011.

Yet it was later argued on his behalf by his attorney, Kelvin Singh, that Thusi had acted under the control and influence of Manqele.

This submission was based on the facts contained in Thusi’s confession.

In it Thusi said Manqele had fetched him on Christmas Day 2010 in his black Hummer vehicle and drove him to Phase 4, France. There they waited for about two hours for a human being who was to make them rich.

Thusi alleged Manqele put muthi on his hand and blew on it, saying, “Come out, come out”.

Jokweni appeared and was lured into the vehicle. Manqele put muthi into his nostrils and mouth which made him “fall asleep”.

Thusi alleged that Manqele decapitated the youth at the river and instructed Thusi to remove his genitals. The body parts were placed in a dish and taken back to Manqele’s dungeon at Mafakathini where a ritual was performed.

Manqele allegedly told Thusi to take the head home and keep it and it would make him rich.

Acting Judge Ncube said Thusi has shown no remorse for what he did.

Police found Jokweni’s head in the freezer in the course of investigations after receiving information from an informer, and not as a result of Thusi’s help.

He said the murder had been premeditated. Further, while the community, including Thusi’s girlfriend, had searched for the missing boy, he had kept quiet. “The practice of people killing people for body parts to make them rich is becoming prevalent throughout the country.

“I think it is time that courts send a strong message to the community that such practices cannot be tolerated,” the judge said.

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