Man’s heart, tongue cut out

2010-06-08 00:00

THE mutilated body of a 51-year-old mentally ill man was found with parts of his body missing in a small rural village near Albert Falls Dam yesterday morning.

The discovery of Sphamandla Shelembe’s body at about 6 am has sent shock waves throughout the community of Thokozani village.

Villagers fear a serial killer may be on the loose in the area because there have been other gruesome murders.

Shelembe’s heart and tongue had been cut out and his head bore gashes, apparently caused by a sharp object.

Monica Nzama (38) was rushing to catch a minibus taxi to work when she literally stumbled over the body.

“I was trying to escape the dust caused by a car when I tripped over the body. I first thought it was an animal that had been run over by a car. I touched it, only to find that it was a man with his head covered by blood and red flesh on his chest,” said Nzama.

She said she last saw Shelembe when he was walking towards his home, apparently coming from Pietermaritzburg city centre, at about 6 pm on Sunday.

“I did not pay much attention as he always walked to and from the city. Even if you gave him a lift, he would return back to where you picked him up and walk to his destination, or refuse it.

“But I was shocked when I arrived at the scene this morning to find his body covered with a blanket,” said Dlamini.

Next to the body were pieces of skin that have been removed from his head.

Shelembe’s niece, Thembelihle Ndlovu, said the family believes Shelembe was killed for witchcraft purposes.

“If it was an ordinary murder they would have killed him without removing body parts,” said Ndlovu.

Albert Falls is popular for its entertainment parks and the Albert Falls Dam. Locals say their area is the place to be, especially during weekends and holidays.

However, people in Thokozani said the murders that have taken place over the past few years have forced them to be on the lookout, especially during the night.

Said resident Khosi Dlamini, “The body of Funani Ndlela was found naked and burnt in a park last year. Police told us that she had been hit to death with a blunt object.

“The body of Nkululeki Ndlela was found at his house. He had also been murdered.

“We are scared because we believe that there are people who are out to kill in the area.”

Another resident, Nomakhaya Mchunu, said police need to pay more attention to the recurring murders in the area.

“Khombi Dlamini’s body was left with a gash on the stomach and her intestines were left exposed,” said Mchunu.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said no arrest has been made in connection with the latest murder.

She said she is not aware of previous murders in the area.

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