Mpuma cops deny torture claims

2014-02-27 21:03
(Nielen de Klerk, News24)

(Nielen de Klerk, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Mbombela - Police officers investigating a muti murder involving a 6-year-old Mpumalanga girl have denied torturing one of the accused into confessing to the crime.

They were testifying on Thursday in a trial-within-a-trial where Sifiso Vilakazi, 25, Thabile Mnisi, 33, and Stella Zulu, 49, are charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

The matter was being heard in the Nelspruit circuit of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, a Sapa correspondent reported.

The three are accused of killing Dimakatso Shabangu, who went missing on 21 April 2009. Her body was found floating in a river four days later.

The court heard that Zulu was not acquitted from the crime, but had challenged the confession statement she said she was tortured into signing.

This led to a separate trial for the court to establish if her allegations were true.

The court heard Zulu was tortured with a plastic bag and suffocated during interrogations until she signed the confession.

"It is not true that I tubed her to make her confess. I know that she was taken to officer Mabunda for an interview. I was called as a female when she needed to go to the toilet so that I could escort her," said Detective Constable Phumzile Shungube, from Tonga police station.

Defence lawyer Jacques Oosthuizen asked Shungube if she recorded her work in her pocket book on a daily basis as required.

She told the court that she sometimes ran out of pocket books or lost them.

"I noted everything I was doing on that day as I was busy assisting with the case. I do not know where my pocket book is," said Shungube.

Torture claims

Oosthuizen explained to the court that Zulu had told him she was assaulted, threatened and tortured into confessing.

He said Zulu named Shungube and other officers.

"She was forced to lie on her back on the desk of officer Mangane. She lay there and fell down," said Oosthuizen.

Constable Myburgh Mashabane told the court he was only part of the team investigating Shabangu's disappearance and he knew nothing about the torture claims.

"I was part of the searching team, tasked by my supervisor officer Mangane and I do not know anything about tubing; I have only heard about it on television. Since I have heard about it now, I will get more information on it," he said.

Tonga police crime prevention sector commander Captain Timothy Simon Mbombi told the court that Zulu confessed to having suffered nightmares because of the murder she and her co-accused had committed.

"She told me that she understands the confession because she made a statement to the magistrate. I am a police officer that can take a statement and give evidence in court," Mbombi said.

"I explained to her that she can call her lawyer or get a state lawyer but she told me that she would consider a lawyer later. She said 'I am having nightmares and I cannot sleep at night'."

Mbombi said Zulu told him she would show him where Shabangu was murdered.


Earlier, Nsikazi Magistrate Snowy Masango testified that he noticed Zulu was swollen when she came to court but did nothing about it.

"She told me that she was swollen and I saw that she was swollen. I made a mistake there. I did not regard it as wounds but swelling. I did nothing to assist her because she was under police's hands. I trusted them and maybe I forgot to think of taking action," said Masango.

He said Zulu told her she had been assaulted by an angry mob from her community.

"I asked her if she had been forced, assaulted or threatened to make a statement by any police officer and she said no. I then asked her if the community had forced, assaulted or threatened her into making a statement to the police and she said yes.

"I wrote it down but I did not see where she was hurt but she told me she was assaulted by members of the community. She did not have any cuts," said Masango.

Vilakazi, Mnisi and Zulu have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Vilakazi and Mnisi are out on R3 000 bail while Zulu is out on R5 000 bail.


Read more on:    police  |  mbombela  |  police brutality

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


ANCYL: Not voting would be blasphemy

Not voting in the forthcoming elections would be blasphemy, the ANCYL says in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of struggle icon Nelson Mandela's Rivonia trial speech.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300

Keep it together Text. Email. Social. With all the different ways to...

From R1399.00

I'm shopping for:


There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.