Victim of 'cannibals' identified

2017-09-13 13:45
The five suspects try to hide their faces at their court appearance in Estcourt.

The five suspects try to hide their faces at their court appearance in Estcourt. (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - The human remains found at the home of an Estcourt nyanga (traditional healer) have been identified as those of Shayamoya resident Zanele Hlatshwayo.

Police have arrested six men so far in connection with an arm and leg found at nyanga Nino Mbatha’s home last month.

Mbatha (32), Sthembiso Sithole (31), Lindokuhle Masondo (32) Lungisani Magubane (30), Khayelihle Lamula, (32) and Nhlakanipho Shabalala (25) are accused of killing Hlatswayo and eating her flesh. The six appeared in the Estcourt Magistrate’s Court yesterday on charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

They abandoned their bail application and will be appearing in court on September 28.

Hlatshwayo’s sister, Liziwe, told The Witness in a previous interview that Zanele was last seen on July 25 when she left her family home to visit her grandmother in Pietermaritzburg.

Zanele’s cousin, Nozipho Hlatshwayo, said Zanele had been “reluctant” to travel to Pietermaritzburg as she feared human traffickers after seeing WhatsApp messages about women and children being abducted.

- Read more: Cannibal victim had a bad feeling - family

When Liziwe and Nozipho heard reports of the Estcourt “cannibals”, and with Zanele still missing, they contacted police who called them to the Estcourt police station. There they identified the bloodied clothes Zanele had been wearing when last seen. Police had to wait for the result of DNA testing to confirm the victim’s identity, which was received yesterday, said KZN police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele.

Meanwhile, News24 reported that the man accused of abducting, murdering and then eating his victim in KwaBhaca — formerly Mount Frere — has died in hospital after being shot by police trying to arrest him.

Aphiwe Mapekula’s mother caught him in the act of eating the flesh of Thembisa Masumpa, whom he abducted in the Eastern Cape town.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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