Cannibalism accused drop bail bid

2017-08-29 11:27
Estcourt murder accused (from left) Nino Mbatha (32), Sthembiso Sithole (31), Lindokuhle Masondo (32), Lungisani Magubane (30) and Khayalihle Lamula (32) exit the Estcourt Magistrate’s Court on Monday after they abandoned their bail application. The five men have been accused of killing a person and eating their flesh. The case was adjourned to September?28 pending further investigations.

Estcourt murder accused (from left) Nino Mbatha (32), Sthembiso Sithole (31), Lindokuhle Masondo (32), Lungisani Magubane (30) and Khayalihle Lamula (32) exit the Estcourt Magistrate’s Court on Monday after they abandoned their bail application. The five men have been accused of killing a person and eating their flesh. The case was adjourned to September?28 pending further investigations. (Ian Carbutt )

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With the chants of hundreds of angry protesters heard from inside Estcourt Magistrate’s Court, the five men accused of killing a person and eating their flesh, abandoned their bail application on Monday morning.

Their faces covered by hoods and hats, the five men entered the court on Monday morning while the families of missing persons in and around Estcourt sat glaring at them from behind.

The accused — Nino Mbatha (32), Sthembiso Sithole (31), Lindokuhle Masondo (32), Lungisani Magubane (30) and Khayelihle Lamula (32) — have been charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder after police found human remains at Mbatha’s home on August 18.

Mbatha had been living in Rensburgdrift where he had rented a house from co-accused Magubane’s brother, Philani Magubane.

Magubane cried loudly into a tatty pink handkerchief in court on Monday while his co-accused remained motionless.

His sobs grew louder as the chants from outraged community members protesting outside the court echoed around the gallery.

The case was adjourned to September 28 after the accused abandoned their bail application, pending further investigations by police.

The men will remain in custody until their next court appearance.

Hundreds of community members gathered outside court, carrying placards advocating against cannibalism and bail for the five accused, in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the men.

Heavily armed police and members of the Public Order Police (POP) stood at the entrance of the court, keeping protesters back behind cordon tape while the crowd waited for the police van carrying the five accused to exit the court premises.

Ward councillor Siboniso Ndwandwe said the crowd had gathered to oppose bail and ensure that the five men “do not return to our community”.

“We are all very angry at what has happened. These men do not belong in our community. How can you be human if you eat another human’s body?” he said.

By the time the police van carrying the men left the court, police had pushed protesters right back, creating a clear passage for the vehicle. The accused were then rushed out of court, while the angry crowd broke through the cordon tape and followed the path of the van, chanting “we hate police”.

The remains found in Mbatha’s house are believed to be those of Shayamoya resident Zanele Hlatshwayo (25), the mother of a two-year-old boy. Although DNA results have not yet been confirmed, Hlatshwayo’s family believe she was killed by the accused after police found bloodied and torn clothes belonging to the young mother at Mbatha’s house.

The case is being investigated by the provincial Occult-Related Crime Unit.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  estcourt cannibal case

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