Muthi killing case: interest waning

2011-02-25 00:00

A BUSLOAD of community members from the Mafakhathini area gathered outside the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday to protest at the appearance of the traditional healer Mduduzi Manqele.

Manqele and his co-accused, Roger Thusi, appeared in court on murder charges. They are accused of killing Loyiso Jokweni (18), whose head was discovered in a freezer in a house that Thusi shares with his girlfriend.

Community members’ interest in the case appears to be waning. One of the organisers yesterday complained that four buses brought community members to the court, but those in the actual protest were equivalent to one busload.

It seems most of the people used the free transport as an opportunity to go shopping; some of the community members were seen coming back to the protest carrying bags of meat from a nearby butchery.

The organisers threatened that those not at the protest would have to find their own way home. “We will call back one bus just to pick up the people who are here,” said one organiser.

The protesters repeated their call that Manqele should be kept behind bars.

They sang a variety of songs, including Umanqele uyasibulala (Manqele is killing us).

A community member, Smangele Sokhela, told The Witness, “His shenanigans have caused a rift between community members. Those who support him are openly saying that he will be released and that those who were at the forefront calling for his imprisonment will be dealt with.”

She said the community was shaken. “Muthi killing was not prevalent in the community. There was speculation, but nothing this serious. And when we learned that Manqele was dealing in body parts, the community knew that we do not want him in our area.”

Sokhela said that while Manqele remains in jail, the community is safe.

“At this stage we can still let our children roam around the street. What we are worried about is what is going to happen if he is ever released.

“I believe that will lead to the community taking the law into their own hands.”

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