Four appear in KZN court for 'muti murder' of albino woman

2015-08-25 18:57

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Durban - A case involving four men who allegedly killed and dismembered an albino woman in Manguzi, northern KwaZulu-Natal, was adjourned on Tuesday for further investigation.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Tuesday that Siyabonga Gwala, 18, Lindokuhle Khumalo, 19, Mandla Mabuza, 19 and Bhekukufa Gumede, 65, a traditional healer and pastor had appeared at the Manguzi Magistrate's Court for the alleged murder of Thandazile Mpunza, 20.

Mpunza was reported missing by her family on August 5. Her remains were found in a shallow grave after the suspects confessed and led the police to the shocking discovery on August 16.

It is suspected that the murder was linked to witchcraft.

NPA spokesperson Natasha Ramkisoon-Kara said the case was adjourned to October 13.

"The accused also decided to abandon their bail application," she said.

Mhlabuyalingana's municipal manager, Sibusiso Bukhosini, said Mpunzi’s murder had rocked the community, as it was not the first time that a person had been killed for "muti" in the area.

"About two years ago, a man was found in pieces and the suspects have never been caught," he said.

"I am told that one of the suspects was her boyfriend and he was allegedly offered a lot of money to bring her to be killed.

"We need to educate the community that people living with albinism are not a commodity and people should stop using them for muti purposes."

'A man of God is said to have participated'

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Social Development Weziwe Thusi said she was saddened that the incident had happened while South Africa was celebrating Women's Month.

"Myths that people living with albinism don't die and instead go missing, are false. The myth that using their body parts for muti will bring you luck or will cure Aids is also not true," said Thusi.

She said, in some instances, pupils had dropped out of schools because they were being teased.

The chairperson of Albinism Society of South Africa in KwaZulu-Natal, Maxwell Thabethe, said while he was happy that Mpunzi’s body had been found, he was dismayed at the brutality.

"What  saddens me the most is that a man of God is said to have participated in the act. This man influenced young people to take the life of another human being," said Thabethe.

He said there was still a lot of discrimination against albinos, both in rural and urban areas.

"In rural areas there are still false beliefs such as that if they add the body parts of an albino, it will make them more powerful," said Thabethe.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime
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