Man killed ‘witch’ so dead mother would become a ‘tokoloshe’

2010-01-15 00:00

A 22-YEAR-OLD man yesterday told the Pietermaritzburg High Court that he killed a woman who claimed she used witchcraft to kill his mother, in order to make his mother a tokoloshe.

The man, who pleaded guilty to the murder of the professed witch, said that she had claimed to have also killed other people, some of whom he knew, through witchcraft.

The man, Eric Mthembu, from Mtubatuba, was jailed for 18 years by Judge Anton van Zyl who said that Mthembu seemed to have a genuine, but misplaced, belief that the professed witch, Catherine Gina, had killed people by using supernatural powers.

Mthembu said that after he was told that Gina had killed his mother, whom he dearly loved, he entered Gina’s home after midnight on January 1 this year.

He confronted her and she admitted killing people. Weeping, he stabbed her about four times with a knife he took with him.

Van Zyl found substantial and compelling circumstances for Mthembu, freeing him from having to impose a life jail sentence for premeditated, planned murder. He was a first offender, did not try to run away and had co-operated with the police after the community arrested him. After the death of his mother, he was the sole supporter of his siblings, and he had shown remorse by pleading guilty to killing the woman.

He imposed a long jail sentence as the extreme prevalence of violence against women needs to be curbed. The courts, he said, have a responsibility to impose appropriate sentences on aggrieved people who seek their own vengeance. Otherwise there could be chaos.


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