Sangoma jailed for violations

2018-07-11 06:00

The Clocolan Magistrate’s Court sentenced sangoma Mpho Mokhethi to an effective five years imprisonment on Tuesday, 3 July.

found with human organs The court found the accused guilty on three counts: the violation of a corpse, violation of a grave and imprisonment for contravention of the Immigration Act.

The accused stood trial alone after the acquittal of four other suspects, Moeketsi Lekoko (34), Moabe Ramoabe (32), Khotso Monyobo (32) and Mamodiehi Moketetsa (32).

They were arrested in May last year after the police received reliable information while investigating the tampering of a grave.

Phaladi Shuping, the provincial spokesperson of the National Prosecuting Authority, said the charges against the four were withdrawn due to insufficient evidence linking them to the crimes.

Mokhethi, however, pleaded guilty to all three counts during the trial.

It was heard in court that Mokhethi wanted to use human organs, a head and a tongue for muti to make his business flourish. with the purpose of using it for his business to flourish.

Mokhethi remained in custody until sentencing.

The state turned down his bail application on the premise that he was classified as a flight risk.

The accused was well-known in Clocolan because he practiced as a sangoma.

Magistrate Petro Jacobs sentenced Mokhethi following the successful prosecution by state prosecutor Joyce Mokoena.

He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for the violation of a grave, four years for the violation of a corpse and six months for the contravention of the Immigration Act.

The court heard that a community member came across a grave that had been tampered with as he was visiting the graveyard on 26 May 2017.

The deceased’s family was informed, and they discovered that the grave had been partially opened and the lid of the coffin moved. The police were called to the scene and they discovered the head was mis­sing.

“The family had to rebury the deceased with the head missing,” said Phaladi.

“An investigation led the police to sangoma Mokhethi’s house, where they dug out the head in front of the accused’s door of the house.

“The tongue had been cut off. It was found cut in three pieces in a plastic bag. The traumatised family then had to bury the deceased for a third time.”

He said Mokhethi, a Lesotho citizen who does not have proper documentation to be in South Africa, pleaded guilty to all three charges.

“In his plea agreement, he stated that he went to the graveyard on 26 May 2017, chose a grave to dig up, opened the coffin and cut off the head,” said Phaladi.

“He then put the head inside the plastic bag and took it home with the purpose of using it as muti to make his business flourish.”

Mokoena, arguing in aggravation of the sentence, presented to the court a victim impact statement facilitated by Tshepang Moeti in which the family member of the deceased stated that the incident had greatly traumatised the family.The family had to bury his uncle three times.

“Moeti further stated that the family had to ask for assistance from their local municipality to rebury the deceased, as they could not afford reburial costs.”

Mokoena stated that the accused had not considered the family when he dug up the grave to cut off the head for his benefit and the tongue for medical purposes.

“The court must not consider only the family, but the whole community, because this incident brings fear that it could happen to any family,” said Mokoena.

“He did not only traumatise the family, but he also tainted the dignity of traditional healers.”

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