Body parts 'cut for muthi'

2017-03-09 10:12
Man recalls grisly details of beheading at duo's trial.

Man recalls grisly details of beheading at duo's trial. (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - Gruesome details of the beheading of a KwaZulu-Natal murder victim allegedly for muthi purposes emerged in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday.

Two men, Thandowakhe Duma (21) and Elias Sihle Mchunu (41), are on trial before Judge Rishi Seegobin in connection with six charges including two of murder in which the victims — a woman, Bawinile Gambushe, and a man, Nawaaz Khan — were allegedly killed on separate occasions for their body parts.

In both instances the victims were beheaded and other body parts removed.

The other charges against the pair include robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

One alleged victim, Dane Ramparthab who was kidnapped on October 29, 2015, while he was busy picking mangoes, managed to escape from his assailants, according to the state’s indictment.

Duma and Mchunu have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

On Thursday former security guard Mveliso Erick Ngini, whose job included guarding the courts at Scottburgh and Umzinto at the time of the incidents, admitted in evidence on behalf of the state that he had participated in the beheading of one victim, believed to be Gambushe.

According to his evidence he accompanied Mchunu and Duma to where the body was one night in October 2015 and assisted when Mchunu chopped off the head with an axe.

He said Mchunu had moved some branches away to reveal the body which lay in a forested area in Umzinto.

He said the body was then visible from the chest up.

He complied with Mchunu’s instructions to place the head into a plastic bag while Mchunu cut off the head with an axe. At the time Duma had been left to “keep watch for passers-by”, he said.

While Ngini said he did not know who the person was at the time he realised that the victim had been killed and that what they did was unlawful.

In response to questions by state advocate Dorian Paver, he said he had decided to “keep quiet” about the matter because he was afraid Mchunu would “hunt” him and his children down if he reported the matter.

Ngini testified that he was supposed to take the head to his home where he had a cage housing “tokoloshes”. However, he had told the others he was “not going to leave with something that smelly”. It was then suggested by Mchunu that they crush the head.

“Because we were in a dumping area, I got a car seat cover. I put it over the plastic bag with the head. I put it on a rock and then I started to strike it with the back of the axe,” he said.

Ngini said they had subsequently buried the head in a heap of soil in the vicinity.

In the early hours of the morning he had departed for work, leaving Mchunu and Duma behind as Mchunu told him that they were going to “perform a ritual”.

He testified that earlier that night they also spoke about the body of an “Indian person” which had been thrown next to the road but he did not go to that scene.

Ngini testified that he had spoken to Mchunu subsequently on various occasions about bringing him the various body parts he was supposed to keep at his home, but he never received them.

He was arrested on November 12, 2015.

According to Ngini his involvement started after he revealed to Mchunu that he was “having a problem” at his home in Malangeni area where he lived as there was “something bugging him” and making a noise in the roof.

Prophets had told him these were evil spirits.

He told the court about a number of alleged discussions between himself and Mchunu about this and said Mchunu had reported that he had consulted with an Inyanga by the name of Shezi about the matter, and he had negotiated with Shezi to obtain “tokoloshes” which he was to house in a cage he built for this purpose at his home.

He described a ritual they performed to “lure” the tokoloshes from the forest which involved crushing a finger taken from the right hand of a male person and mixing it with muthi provided by the Inyanga.

He said Mchunu had then made a tribal cut on his (Ngini’s) index finger and the mixture was rubbed into it.

The case is proceeding.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  ritual crimes

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