Murderer ‘guided by muthi’

2012-08-29 00:00

THE two men who murdered Ria Coetzee (76) after she gave them water did not even know each other’s proper names, the high court in Ramsgate heard yesterday.

Njabulo Nyawose (26) pleaded guilty to murder and house robbery and was handed a life sentence and 15 years in prison for the crimes. Lungisa Longazane (23) pleaded not guilty.

The two were arrested for the murder of Coetzee in April. She was found in the bathroom of her house by her husband, Fanie (77).

Yesterday, Longazane told the court how he and his co-accused had been on a job hunt in the St Michaels area when they strangled Coetzee.

It was only after the murder occurred that the men introduced themselves to each other in a taxi en route to Port Shepstone.

Longazane said Nyawose told him that his name was S’bu and that he was guided by a bottle of red muthi during the incident.

Although Longazane’s intention was to visit a friend on April 5, he thought Nyawose’s proposal to look for jobs was better than to be idle. The job hunt in Margate and Uvongo had been unsuccessful, so the pair decided to look around in St Michaels. After they knocked on Coetzee’s door numerous times, she responded, telling the accused she had no work for them.

“Njabulo then signalled to me to ask her for water to drink. The woman pointed out that there was a tap at the entrance of the yard.”

While they drank water from the tap, Longazane said, Coetzee watched them through a window and told them to “continue with the search, they will find jobs”.

After leaving the premises, they spent about 30 minutes discussing whether they should go back to the house.

“Njabulo grabbed me with aggression and insisted that we go back … He took a small bottle with red liquid out of his pocket and shook it … I said no, but after a while I agreed to go back.”

Longazane said he suggested they return on a different day, but Nyawose said “he could sense in his blood that there was money in the house”.

They climbed in through the window. When Coetzee saw them in the house, Nyawose grabbed her by the neck.

“The woman also grabbed Njabulo by his neck and they both fell against a table … I got scared because I realised the white person could die right there.”

Coetzee was tied up with electrical cable and had a checked shirt placed over her head.

“We searched the house and left with rings, a DVD player, video camera, bottles of wine; spirits and cool drinks … But Njabulo said there was money in the house because the bottle of muthi was still shaking in his pocket … We sold the valuables to a foreigner in Port Shepstone.”

The men paid allegedly sold the items for about R1 000, which they split. The case continues today.

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