The jackal did not hunt alone

2011-01-22 17:43

The family of one of ­Sugarcane Strangler Thozamile Taki’s ­victims ­believe that he did not act alone.

On Wednesday the Durban High Court sentenced Taki to 13 life ­sentences and 208 years in prison for 13 murders and 13 counts of armed robbery.

Taki had dumped the bodies of his victims in sugarcane and tea plantations in Umzinto in KwaZulu-Natal and Port St Johns in Eastern Cape.

The 39-year-old was convicted by Judge King Ndlovu in December last year.

This week, after sentencing him, Ndlovu denied him leave to appeal his sentence.

“I watched the accused during the trial. He was callous and insensitive. He smiled when witnesses gave evidence and were in tears,” said Ndlovu.

He called Taki a “real jackal in a sheepskin to his victims”.

Janet Ngcobo, whose daughter, Nombali, was one of his victims, said she believed Taki had not come clean about his killing spree.

“He couldn’t kill my Mbali on his own. She was strong like a man. He is still protecting someone,” a ­tearful Ngcobo said this week.

She described her daughter as a good-hearted woman, but said she was “a good fighter” and she would have “taken Taki on” if he had been alone.

Ngcobo’s sentiments were ­echoed by Dudu Ntetha, who went with Ngcobo to meet Taki, but who survived.

Ntetha and Ngcobo were from the rural areas of Umzinyathi, outside Durban, where they went to school together.

They had been friends for 15 years.

Ntetha said she and Ngcobo met Taki – who promised them jobs – at Umzinto in August 2007.

He said he could get her a computer-related job at Nestlé and that she would earn between R4?000 and R6 000 a month.
Taki had introduced himself to them as “Bongile Sukude” and “Baby Face”.

Ntetha said that from the word go, she had a feeling that “Baby Face” was not trustworthy, but she was taken in by his “innocent” ­appearance.

She said that on the day Ngcobo was killed Taki had been wearing scruffy jeans, a red jersey and muddy ­tackies.

He demanded that they pay the taxi fare to Umzinto.

When they got there, “Baby Face” was making and receiving phone calls from someone he said was a recruiter for various companies.

Taki told them the recruiter wanted one of them to come with him to collect cutlery to take to the place where they would be staying.

Ngcobo went with him. When Ntetha tried to call her, Ngcobo’s phone was off, as was Taki’s.

A little later her phone rang.

It was Ngcobo, using Taki’s phone.

She told Ntetha that “some guys were coming to get her”.

After a short while, Taki arrived.

Ntetha became suspicious and, when he went to buy food, she jumped into a taxi back to Durban.

After 20 days, Ngcobo’s body was one of those found in an ­Umzinto sugarcane plantation.

The description Ntetha gave to the police led to Taki’s arrest.

Ntetha said although she was happy about the outcome of the case, she couldn’t shake the feeling that Taki was protecting someone.

“When I first testified, I wanted to finish him up.

“I know he is hiding his associates, but I am glad he will rot in jail,” said Ntetha.

Ngcobo’s daughter, Nonkalipho, said that despite Taki’s jail ­sentence she could not deal with the loss of her mother.

“This won’t bring my mother back,” she said.

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