Security tight as frozen head accused appear in court

2011-02-08 00:00

MASSES of police surrounded the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday as Mafakathini traditional healer Mduduzi Manqele (48) and co-accused Roger Thusi (30) appeared in court.

No violent incidents were reported.

The two men are facing charges arising from the discovery of the head of 18-year-old Loyiso Jokweni in a freezer in a house in France township on January 28.

They made a fleeting appearance in a packed courtroom before the case was postponed for a bail hearing on February 24.

Buses bringing protesters who were opposed to the pair being granted bail arrived too late for the court appearance. Instead, the protesters gathered in the square opposite the high court where they held a demonstration.

The case has sparked widespread anger among community members, demonstrated by a vigilante attack on Manqele’s posh Mafakhathini home and tuckshop, which were looted and set alight by an angry crowd in the wake of his arrest.

A mob also torched the house where the victim’s head was found with a frozen snake coiled around it in a freezer at France.

The house had been occupied by Thusi and his girlfriend, who is said to be the alleged owner of the home.

Police arrested Thusi in connection with the gruesome find. According to community members, Thusi led the police to Manqele, who had allegedly instructed him to decapitate Jokweni and place the head in a freezer in order to “get rich”.

The accused have not yet pleaded to any charges.

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