The northeastern provinces of South Africa have a bad reputation when it comes to ritualistic activities and murders. Whereas commendable steps have been taken by local authorities to arrest and put on trial those suspected of involvement in these heinous crimes (see my previous postings), still much is left to be desired. This is illustrated by the article reproduced below, dating from 2017, focusing the citizens of Acornhoek in Mpumalanga province. The danger exists that citizens will take the law into their own hand if the authorities fail to react properly. In a country, ruled by the principles of the rule of law, mob justice has no place. Mob justice, however, is an important signal that the legal authorities fall short of the expectations which people justly hold (webmaster FVDK).
Acornhoek community marches against alleged ritual killings
Published: July 11, 2017 By: Letaba Herald – Refiloe Matome
The community of Acornhoek (consisting of Cottondale, Timbavati, RDP and Plaza View) presented a memorandum to the Acornhoek SAPS regarding crime which is happening within their communities on June 28.
The memorandum presented to the station management in order for them to address the cases of ritual practices and child trafficking that is allegedly taking place within the community.
“As the citizens of this country, we no longer feel safe within our communities and the constitution clearly stated that we all have the right to live freely,” said Ndlovu of The Bushbuckridge Residents Association.
Three incidents were clearly highlighted where they believe victims were unfairly treated and justice was not served. The first being Wilson Mokoena’s case who was killed in Plaza View earlier this year and according to information provided to the Hoedspruit Herald, the suspect is a government official and is well known but no arrests have been made thus far.
“Alfred Madalane was found killed and dumped at an Acornhoek scrap yard with body parts missing, three suspects were arrested after confessing to his killing, but they were later released by the court stating that there was not enough evidence while the perpetrators confessed to his death,” added Ndlovu.
The last case that was presented to the SAPS for query was that of Maluleke who was killed and dumped at Pendulane cross with his blood allegedly drained from his body.
“The above mentioned cases need to be considered, we call upon the station commander to urgently intervene in these cases and all suspects need to be rearrested immediately. We expect to get a respond with immediate effect before the community takes the law into their own hands,” concluded Ndlovu.
Yesterday I posted an article on the sentencing to life imprisonment of four people found guilty of ritual murder in Limpopo Province, South Africa. It is not the first time that the rule of law was applied by prosecuting and sentencing a ritual murderer in Limpopo Province, a region which unfortunately is notorious for the occurrence of muti murders. In October 2015, a Mocambican man who had been apprehended in possession of body parts was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Limpopo High Court at Makhado (webmaster FVDK).
Life sentence for ritual murderer
Published: October 29, 2015 By: Letaba Herald, Matome Maila
A Mocambican man who was found in possession of body parts last year was sentenced to life imprisonment during a sitting of the Limpopo High Court at Makhado last Tuesday.
Nkovani Samson Majoko (36), originally from Mocambique, but residing a Xiphuraphuleni Settlement in Malamulele, outside Giyani was arrested in June last year after he was found in possession of a bag containing two hands and male sexual organs
The court heard that he lured the victim, John Miyambo (35), from Mocambique to South Africa with the promise of a job and then killed him and cut off the body parts to sell as muti.
He was arrested after information was received of a man trying to sell body parts in the Malamulele area.
He was found guilty on a charge of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Is it possible to something positive in the area of ritualistic killings? Maybe yes, read the following case, reproduced below. In Limpopo province, South Africa, where ritualistic murders aka muti (muthi) murders are rampant, a court has found four people accused of ritual murder guilty and sentenced them to life imprisonment. The Thohoyandou High Court found guilty and convicted Christinah Mhlongo (56), Solomon Mqengeni Mahumani (67) and Amos Mafemani Chuma (51) for the barbaric, gruesome ritual murder of their-in-law, Hlayisani Hlungwani (26), at Hlomela village in Giyani three years ago. A fourth convict, Daniel Dzambukeri was sentenced to life imprisonment after he pleaded guilty at the beginning of the trial.
I must commend the police department, the investigators, and the court judges for their work and I am happy with the outcome of their work. I will not give my opinion on the sentences, in this case life imprisonment. Judges must work independently and objectively, one must be very prudent to comment or to interfere with their work. However, I am very positive about the fact that the rule of law has been upheld. in South Africa, notably in Limpopo Province, muti murderers terrorize the population and violate people’s human rights, notably the right to live without fear and the right to live. To prosecute and sanction perpetrators of these cruel crimes is a sacred duty of the state which has an obligation to protect its citizens. Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is essential to educate people telling them that killing other people motivated by superstition as a means to become rich or famous is outrageous and not acceptable.
Warning: the article below contains graphic details (FVDK).
Relatives senctenced to life for ritual murder
Published: November 18, 2020 By: Letaba Herald
Four relatives were last Thursday each sentenced to life imprisonment for the ritual murder of their in-law at Hlomela village in Giyani three years ago.
Thohoyandou High Court found guilty and convicted Christinah Mhlongo (56), Solomon Mqengeni Mahumani (67) and Amos Mafemani Chuma (51) for the murder of Hlayisani Hlungwani (26) in Nsavula village.
The fourth convict, Daniel Dzambukeri was sentenced to life imprisonment after he pleaded guilty at the beginning of the trial.
The judge found that the four accused intentionally killed Hlungwani by cutting off her lips, breasts and private parts.
The heinous crime which sent shock waves in the Hlomela and Nsavula villages was found to have been motivated by greed and the love of money. All accused pleaded not guilty and showed no remorse, the judge found.
The court heard that on 17 April 2017, Daniel Dzambukeri lured his sister-in-law to get into Chuma’s Honda Ballade in order to fetch her child from her grandmother. Dzambukeri testified that when the vehicle reached Hlomela village they drove into the bushes where Hlungwani’s legs were tied to a tree.
Later all of the accused went to the scene to perform their rituals before removing some body parts.
During the ritual, the victim’s mother-in-law, Mhlongo, burned herbs naked while calling Hlungwani ancestors to accept her spirit. Dzambukeri told the court that he had committed the crime with all three accused.
He told the court that he and Mahumani held the victim down while Chuma cut the body parts with a knife. Chuma handed the parts to Mhlongo who wrapped it in a red cloth.
The killing angered villagers who vented their anger by burning down three houses and other properties belonging to the convicts.
Other family member fled the area to other provinces. In mitigation of sentence Mhlongo asked the court not to sentence her for a murder she didn’t commit.
“There was no way I could have joined men to commit such crime,” said Mhlongo.
Mahumani and Chuma also asked the court not to sentence them, they accept no responsibility for their action.
In aggravation of sentence the state advocate, Absah Madzhuta, called the elder brother of the deceased, Richard Hlongwani who testified about the impact the killing had on her child and her grandmother.
Hlungwani further said that the family was shocked, in pain and living in fear.
The death of the deceased has affected the child of the deceased in that she failed her grade.
He said that she knows that her mother was killed by a woman and men and she is now afraid of her father and visitors.
The court remarked that the crime was barbaric, where the victim fought for her life with all her energy, screaming and kicking.
She suffered a painful death, with her body parts removed whilst still alive (italics added by the webmaster).
The body parts were destined for sale.
“Although every case is decided according to its merits, this crime is very serious. The family had to bury their loved one with some of her body parts missing. The aggravating circumstances outweigh by far the mitigating factors of the accused. This type of murder is a classical barbaric one without respecting the deceased and her right to life in terms of Section 11 of the Constitution,” remarked Justice Khami Makhafola before sentencing the convicts to life imprisonment.
The director of public prosecutions, Adv Ivy Thenga welcomed the sentence and commended the investigation team together with the state Adv Absa Madzhuta for the work well done.
Below follows the link to another article related to the same barbaric crime. The graphic details of the crime committed being so shocking I have decided not to reproduce the full text here. If readers are still interested, they may click the link below but they are warned that the contents of the article are shocking and repulsive. The article describes in full detail how the victim’s body parts were cut off while she was still alive (webmaster FVDK).
The faces of evil Published: November 20, 2020 By: Zoutnet, South Africa – Andries van Zyl
A mysterious murder, a dead suspect, it will be difficult to establish the truth – but apparently one thing is sure: the body found was mutilated. The victim was the husband of one of the suspects, but she died while fleeing to neighboring South Africa. A case of muti murder or not? We await the outcome of the investigations (webmaster FVDK).
Instant Justice: Woman Dies In Car Crash After Killing Husband For Ritual Purposes
Published: June 5, 2020 By: Andrew Zulu – I Harare, Zimbabwe
In what may be described as a case of instant justice, a Beitbridge woman believed to be on the run after killing her husband in suspected ritual murder died in a road accident over the weekend. The fugitive, Khathutshelo Moyo, died in a car crash on Saturday while evading arrest in Limpopo Province, South Africa, where she had sought refuge. One of the three accomplices sustained some injuries and was rushed to a South African hospital.
It is alleged that Moyo teamed up with the accomplices whom she had hired to kill and mutilate her husband, Langton Ribombo, two weeks ago at Mapolovhele Village, 18km north of Beitbridge town. After committing the crime, the accused allegedly harvested some body parts from the deceased leading to widespread speculation that the killing was for ritual purposes.
One of the suspects, Admire Ndou, who has since been arrested is reported to have driven an unregistered Honda Fit vehicle carrying Ribombo’s body, before dumping it and fleeing to neighbouring South Africa. Ribombo’s remains have been buried.
State mediareports that the alleged killer’s remains were repatriated from South Africa and buried yesterday (Thursday).
Published: June 5, 2020 By: The Herald, Zimbabwe – Thupeyo Muleya
A Beitbridge woman, Khathutshelo Moyo, suspected of teaming up with two other men who are still at large to kill her husband Langton Ribombo was killed in a road accident over the weekend.
Moyo was buried at Lutumba yesterday.
She is alleged to have skipped the border with two accomplices and had been hiding in Malale, Limpopo Province, before she met her death.
Moyo reportedly died in a car crash on Saturday while evading arrest as she sought to relocate to Thohoyandou, again in Limpopo Province.
One of the accomplices is reported to be admitted to a South African hospital.
It is alleged that Moyo and crew killed Ribombo two weeks ago at Mapolovhele Village, 18km north of Beitbridge town, after which the suspects carried and dumped his half naked body in a bush, about 8km along the Beitbridge-Masvingo Highway.
They are further accused of gouging his right eye, removing his tongue and lower lips, before escaping to South Africa.
One of the suspects, Admire Ndou of Mapili area in Beitbridge West, is alleged to have driven the unregistered Honda Fit vehicle carrying Ribombo’s body, before dumping it and fleeing to South Africa.
The motive behind the murder remains unknown.
Ndou was reportedly arrested during initial police investigations.
The mutilated remains have since been buried at Mugwazhuli Village some 25km along the Beitbridge-Masvingo Highway.
Officer Commanding Beitbridge District, Chief Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo, said further investigations were underway to establish if the remains repatriated from South Africa were of the woman they were looking for.
“At this stage we are conducting intensive verification to establish if the remains that were interred at Lutumba are indeed those of the woman we were looking for in connection with a recent murder case.
“However, indications are that she was involved in a fatal road accident in South Africa on 30 May and we intercepted the body during repatriation at the border.
“We had information that there was not going to be body viewing at her funeral wake, hence we took pictures and fingerprints for further verification,” he said.
Chief Superintendent Nyongo confirmed the arrest of Ndou, adding that they were pursuing two more men believed to be part of the assailants.
He could not disclose the suspects’ names to avoid jeopardising investigations.
Ndou was arrested after detectives located the owner of the vehicle used to carry the body of Ribombo from Mapolovhele to Mapayi turn-off, where it was spotted by another motorist who alerted the police.
He has since appeared before Beitbridge Resident magistrate, Mr Toyindepi Zhou, and was remanded in custody to June 8.
Beware, suspicion alone does not count! However, a dismembered body is an indication that a muti murder may have been committed. The truth is that muti murders do occur rather frequently in the region, notably Limpopo Province (webmaster FVDK).
Limpopo police arrest suspect wanted for serious crimes, including body dismemberment
Published: April 8, 2020 By: The Citizen (South Africa)
It is alleged that the man committed the crimes between 2015 and 2019.
A 32-year-old suspect wanted for a string of serious and violent crimes that include rape, burglary and the murder of a man whose body was dismembered, has been arrested.
The arrest was made in Sterkfontein, outside Groblersdal, Limpopo police said on Tuesday.
It is alleged that the man committed the crimes between 2015 and 2019.
In one of the incidents in Legolaneng on 28 September 2016, police were alerted to a murder.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said: “On arrival at the scene, they found the body of a man with multiple injuries and some body parts missing. He was later identified as Thabitha Makola, then aged 62.”
The motive for the killing is unclear but police are investigating whether it was a ritual murder.
“The suspect was subsequently arrested through forensic investigations that followed and was further linked to other four cases of rape and three [of] burglary residence in the area,” Mojapelo added.
The suspect is expected to appear in the Nebo Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
The following case may not refer to a ritualistic murder though there are strong indications that a ritual murder has indeed been committed. Moreover, the article refers to previous ritual killings that have taken place as “There have been concerns over the high number of ritual killings in the province for years, particularly of women.”, see below (webmaster FVDK).
Polokwane police launch manhunt after discovery of mutilated body
Published: December 15, 2019 By: The South African – Thabo Baloyi
The South African Police Service (SAPS) in Limpopo are on the search for the perpetrators behind the horrific discovery of a badly mutilated body in Polokwane on Thursday 12 December 2019.
The body was found dumped in the bushes along the N1 bypass, near the Peter Mokaba Stadium. A passer-by, who came across the body, noticed some limbs were missing and called the police who then rushed to the scene.
“Upon arrival at the scene, the police were met by the gruesome scene of the badly mutilated body of a man who is estimated to be in his forties, wearing grey trousers, a blue T-shirt and black shoes”, police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said.
Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nneke Ledwaba strongly condemned the attack and called for those responsible to face the full might of the law
“The commissioner has noted the incident with shock, especially the brutality that characterised this murder and has ordered an intensive manhunt for the suspects,” the statement read.
Police are appealing to anyone with information that can assist in the arrest of the suspect(s) and who can assist in the identification of the deceased, to contact Crime Stop at 08600 10111 or the nearest police station.
Ritual murder not ruled out as motive
While Mojapelo did note that the motive was unknown at this stage, they were not ruling out the likelihood of a ritual killing and investigations into the murder are ongoing.
There have been concerns over the high number of ritual killings in the province for years, particularly of women.
Earlier in 2019, Giyani villagers discovered that the private parts of a 69-year-old Giyani man, who had been killed after being hit by a car, were missing. His family believes that he had actually been murdered as part of a ritual act.
In 2018, the headless body of a woman was found in Lulekani, outside Phalaborwa, insider her bedroom. In the same year, the Polokwane High Court sentenced two men to life in prison for the murder of a 17-year-old girl. They were reportedly arrested while trying to sell her head to a local businessman.
The dark practice of ritual murders, motivated by cultural beliefs, is usually carried out by traditional leaders and involves the removal of body parts, whether for self-enrichment or to appease ancestors.
I should emphasize that the case below concerns a suspected case of ritual killing, for muti purposes, as the article outlines. We must always be very careful in not exaggerating the issue of ritualistic killings and stick to the facts. However, muti murders are not uncommon in South Africa (and neighboring countries) and hence, the concerns and reactions of the population are sincere. Moreover, this was not the first alleged ritual killing in the region.
As stated before, governments must protects their citizens and punish the perpetrators of these heinous crimes after their guilt has been established by an independent court. (webmaster FVDK)
Published: June 2, 2019 By: Kaizer Nengovhela (Zoutnet)
Life at Ravele and surrounding areas in the Sinthumule area came to a standstill last Wednesday, following the discovery of the body of a young girl in a bush at Tshikhwani village.
Some body parts were alleged to be missing from the body, which adds to the suspicion that she was killed for muti purposes. Many questions are being asked as to who is behind the senseless and barbaric killings as this was not the first alleged ritual killing.
The girl was later identified as Mamaila Ngobeni (13), a Grade 6 pupil at Daniel Mubva Primary School. Her body was discovered by a passer-by, who alerted the community.
The young girl went missing on Sunday, 19 May. The body, when it was found, allegedly had multiple wounds and both her ears were missing.
The discovery of the body has also raised fears that an organized syndicate dealing in body parts is operating in the area. Residents say other unexplainable deaths occurred in the village, which they believe are the work of this syndicate.
Mr Elias Ngobeni, father of the deceased, said that they were not happy about the way in which the police were handling the case. He acknowledged that some parts were missing from his daughter’s body. He said that they were still waiting for the police to supply them with the autopsy report.
A community member, who commented on condition of anonymity, said that within a short space of time residents from around the village and surrounding villages had gathered at the scene to catch a glimpse of the body. He mentioned that people no longer felt safe in their own homes. “If you do not see one of your children for two to three hours, you start to wonder whether the child is still alive or not,” another resident said.
Chief Mbulaheni Ramabulana said that they were perturbed by the increasing crime in the area. “We have a duty as a community to see to it that crime disappears in our community. We have to devise means to stop this scourge,” he said.
He said the community should “help the police with information that can lead to the arrest and successful prosecution of the suspects who are responsible for this murder”. He appealed to the community to leave the school children alone to go to school.
“Fighting crime is not the duty of the police alone, but a collective task of both the police and you as the community. If you want to see police making a breakthrough in this case, give them information,” he said.
The spokesperson for the SAPS in Limpopo, Col Moatshe Ngoepe, said that the police were still waiting for the post-mortem report. “At this stage, we have no evidence linking anybody to her death. We are now appealing to members of the public to give us space to work on the case.” He also appealed to members of the community to supply information that can shed light on the incident.
The poor family do not have money to bury their beloved daughter because they rely on pension funds and they want to bury her on Sunday. Those who want to help can call Cllr Matodzi Ramushavha on 063 699 6321.
Another case of rumors. Another case of superstition. Another case of mob justice. Between the lines one reads that ritualistic murders are not rare in this region of the republic of South Africa (Limpopo province): ‘With ritual murders rife in the Makonde and Khubvi villages, rumours started doing the rounds about people suspected of having taken part in the killing of the toddler.’ Gruesome reality, the fear is real. Hopefully the authorities react quickly and effectively. Ritual murders have no place in the 21st century.
Three elderly persons attacked on suspicion of ritual murder
Published: November 16, 2018
By: Elmon Tshikhudo
A confused and saddened Sondaha Sikhipha, who was attacked on suspicion of involvement in the alleged ritual murder of a three-year-old child.
Three elderly people from Khubvi were seriously beaten on suspicion of being ritual murderers.
The three, who are all cattle herders, met the wrath of the angry community after the disappearance of a three-year-old boy in the village. The toddler, Ndiwakhonadzeo Mukhwathi, who was visiting the village with a relative, was last seen by his family while playing with others at a nearby playground last week.
He has not been seen since and the community, the family and the police have been searching for him at the nearby mountains and rivers, but in vain.
With ritual murders rife in the Makonde and Khubvi villages, rumours started doing the rounds about people suspected of having taken part in the killing of the toddler. On Saturday, the community held a meeting at the local hall to discuss the matter.
Headman Sondaha Sikhipha of Vumbani village said he was also invited as a traditional leader. “While at the meeting, I was surprised when I was pointed out as the killer of the child. I did not know anything about the boy’s disappearance but was beaten and forced to confess. A tyre was put around my neck and I was threatened with death. Realising that I was not giving the information they wanted, they took me to the nearby local tea plantation where a tyre was once again put around my neck, petrol poured on me and they set alight some grass nearby. They tried to push me into the burning grass, but the police arrived on time and saved me,” he said.
Sikhipha further indicated he had suffered severe injuries after being attacked with unknown objects. He added that he was a peace-loving person who had never been involved in a fight. “I know nothing about the disappearance of this boy. I was nearly killed for something that I never did, all because of lies. They took me to a prophet and the prophet indicated that I was not involved, but they are forcing me into admitting to killing the boy. I am very hurt as I speak,” said Sikhipha, who is the father of two grown-up children.
Meanwhile, sporadic incidents of road barricading and stone throwing were reported in the village during the week.
Angry residents have allegedly vowed to expel all those they had identified as ritual killers.
Limpopo police spokesperson Col Moatshe Ngoepe confirmed that some protests were taking place in the area. He said the protests were taking place sporadically and cautioned communities from taking the law into their own hands.
He appealed to the affected communities to give the search operation a chance to unfold further and to refrain from engaging in any form of violence. He added that no one had been arrested so far in connection with the attack on the three elderly residents.
“Anyone with information that can assist to locate the missing toddler is urgently asked to contact Sgt Makhavhu on 076 440 4336 or 015 960 1076, the Crime Stop number 0860 010 111, crime line SMS 32211 or to contact the nearest police station,” said Ngoepe.