Pretoria man admits killing Mpumalanga teen for muti

2019-08-20 16:20
Traditional healer Thokozani Msibi (first from left), Themba Thubane, Knowledge Mhlanga and Brilliant Mkhize inside the Middelburg High Court in Mpumalanga. (Balise Mabona)

Traditional healer Thokozani Msibi (first from left), Themba Thubane, Knowledge Mhlanga and Brilliant Mkhize inside the Middelburg High Court in Mpumalanga. (Balise Mabona) (Balise Mabona)

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Themba Thubane, one of the four men accused of kidnapping and murdering Gabisile Shabane and Nkosikhona Ngwenya in Hlalanikahle, Mpumalanga, has pleaded guilty to seven charges.

In the Mpumalanga High Court in Middleburg on Monday, Thubane, 37, pleaded guilty in an affidavit which his lawyer, Eugene Muthivhithivhi, read out.

The charges include premeditated murder, kidnapping and the violation of a corpse.

READ | 'Traditional medicine will always be relevant, even with the dominance of Western medicine'

He said his aim of killing 13-year-old Shabane, who had albinism, was to get muti to make his struggling tent rental business flourish.

"I plead guilty freely and voluntarily without any undue influence," Thubane said in the affidavit, which was read before Judge Sheila Mphahlele.

Shallow grave

Shabane and Ngwenya were kidnapped from their home in Hlalanikahle in eMalahleni during the night of January 28, last year, allegedly by three men who entered the house through a broken window.

Shabane's headless and mutilated body was found buried in a shallow grave in Cullinan in the east of Pretoria in February, 2018.

Ngwenya's body was found in a river on the side of the N4 in eMalahleni in the same month.

Thubane, traditional healer Thokozani Msibi, Knowledge Mhlanga and Brilliant Mkhize were arrested in February 2018.

Thubane told the court on Monday that he, Mhlanga and another man, Fankie Khumalo, travelled from Pretoria to eMalahleni in December 2017 to consult Msibi.

He said Msibi told them to bring him a child who has albinism if he really wanted his business to be a success.

"We were shocked when he told us to bring a child with albinism but travelled back to Pretoria to look for one," said Thubane.

"Accused number one contacted us a few days later and asked us if we had found a child with albinism. He kept pushing us to find one. Accused number one then told us to go back to him in eMalahleni in January last year, saying he knew of a certain home where we could find a child with albinism."

Mkhize told the court that he, Mhlanga, Msibi and another man, known only as Gamedze, descended on the Shabane home.

Eight charges

He said Msibi snatched the girl from another room, while Gamedze grabbed Ngwenya before they drove away with them.

They drove to the N4 near eMalahleni, where Mhlanga allegedly threw Ngwenya off the freeway into a river while he was still alive.

Thubane's three co-accused pleaded not guilty to all the eight charges they face, which include premeditated murder, kidnapping and the violation of a corpse.

Mphahlele found Thubane guilty of all seven charges.

The trial of Msibi, Mhlanga and Mkhize has been postponed to May 20, next year.

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