Killer’s confession solves tongue muthi murder

2010-03-26 00:00

A 45-YEAR-OLD man pleaded guilty in the high court yesterday to participating in the murder of a 65-year-old woman whose tongue was to be sold for use in witchcraft.

Madoda Mathenjwa of the Ingwavuma area escaped a life sentence as he confessed to the murder, in a case which police would not have solved had he not owned up.

Judge Kate Pillay, sitting with assessors, sentenced him to 20 years’ imprisonment for the murder of Nomgozibha Mngomezulu on December 21 last year.

According to Mathenjwa’s legal aid lawyer, Kelvin Singh, Mathenjwa received R600 from his co-perpetrator for helping commit the murder.

The state alleged that the men conspired to kill the victim in order to sell her body parts to an unknown person for R5 000 for “witchcraft purposes”.

In his statement to court, Mathenjwa — who is illiterate and has five children — said he met the victim and her bro­ther walking in the Emanyiseni area on the day in question.

The woman’s brother, Mcwecwe Mngomezulu, whom he knew, spoke to him alone and asked him if he wanted to make some money. He then asked him to help kill his sister.

“I agreed. We followed the deceased until we reached her at the top of the hill. I grabbed her hands and pulled [them] behind her back. Mcwecwe placed both his hands on her head and twisted it in a quick action.

“The deceased fell to the ground and was no longer breathing. We moved her body to the nearby bush. Mcwecwe produced a knife and removed her tongue. Mcwecwe placed the tongue in a packet. We took her body to a nearby cliff and threw it into the ri­ver,” he said.

Mathenjwa said he thought daily of what he had done to the woman. His conscience became “unrelenting” and he confessed to a friend, and then to the police.

State advocate Mbongeni Mthembu confirmed the state would not have proved a case against Mathejwa had he not confessed as the body was badly decomposed when found.

A postmortem report concluded that the cause of the victim’s death was “not determinable” and could have resulted from a fall from height.

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