The business, science behind ritual killings

The murder of Thabelo Mazolo in Zimbabwe inspired Bruce Ndlovu, the author of the article reproduced below, to dwell on the phenomenon of ritualistic murders, muti or muthi murders as they are called in Southern Africa. The staggering details of recent murder cases in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe are shocking. The author is to be commended for his frankness to expose and discuss these heinous crimes which have no place in the 21st century.  

Warning: the following article contains many graphic details as to how these murders are committed (webmaster FVDK). 

Murder economy: The business, science behind ritual killings

The suspected ritual killer, Tawana Ngwenya (right) and his disillusioned father, Buzwani Ngwenya (left).

Published: June 21, 2020
By: Nehanda Radio – Bruce Ndlovu

“You must cut yourself and spill your blood onto a mirror,” the message to Tawana Ngwenya reportedly read. “Gaze into the mirror and say out loud that you are selling your soul for riches. After that you must open the door for my boys to go out.”

The messages, from a South African sangoma, were allegedly part of a chain of instructions to Ngwenya, messages that allegedly led him to take the life of Tawana Mazolo at Matsheumhlophe, Bulawayo.

The messages were witchcraft delivered digitally, as the unknown sangoma, from his lair somewhere in one of South Africa’s nine provinces gave Ngwenya instructions on how to spill blood and in the aftermath, prepare for a life of riches.

The details of the alleged murder are gruesome. Half of Mazolo’s body, from the waist down, was missing while her breasts and palms were cut off. On the surface, the tragic killing of Mazolo already looks like a ritual murder. The grizzly details suggest that this indeed is the case.

After all, every once in a while, the pages of publications in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries drip with the blood of innocents murdered at the altar of self-enrichment.

There was the case of Edmore Rundogo, whose dismembered remains were found in Maun, about 500km from Botswana’s second city of Francistown.

Rundogo had left his home in Lobengula West (Bulawayo) in search of a better life in Botswana. Instead of the proverbial greener pastures on the other side of the Plumtree border, he had found machete-wielding men who savagely murdered him, ripping his heart out.

The five killers also cut off his hands, feet, privates and took part of his brains. The killers, after being told by the traditional healer that had hired them that they had killed the wrong person, had then tried to burn his body.

South of the Limpopo, there was the case of 10-year-old Masego Kgomo, a schoolgirl who was still alive when Brian Mangwale ripped out her womb.

During the course of his trial for murder, Mangwale would change his story three times, a fact that the courts took as evidence that he had no remorse for his actions. In one of the three accounts he claimed that he and a group of friends had taken the young girl to a traditional healer in Soshanguve, who gave them a concoction to drink before he dragged the crying Masego into a room.

The girl was still crying when the traditional healer returned with her 10 minutes later and started sprinkling something on her body.

Mangwale claimed the medicine man had then returned with a knife and a clay pot and ordered Masego to lie down on a bed.

When she refused, she was forcibly held down while the traditional healer stabbed her in the stomach, put his hand inside her body and removed something that looked like a ball, which he put into the clay pot. He also removed her left breast.

Mangwale told the magistrate he heard the others had wrapped the child’s body in plastic and drank muthi before dumping her body in the veld on the instructions of the traditional healer.

While his testimony kept changing, the courts were convinced that Kgomo had died after meeting the nasty end of Mangwale’s knife. A life in prison sentence was handed to the killer.

Body parts are big business in Africa, but particularly in South Africa where trade in human body parts is lucrative. In the race to get rich in places like the City of Gold, Johannesburg, some believe that the key to getting their hand on all that glitters is taking a shortcut.

Many Zimbabweans, like Mazolo, can trace their gruesome ritual death to powerful sangomas south of the Limpopo. While Ngwenya was the one allegedly wielding the instrument of death when Mazolo took her last painful breath, this is not always the case.

Middle men, like in the case of Mangwale, are usually the ones that handle the dirty work. According to South African scholar Louise Vincent, certain gangs specialise in killing people for the harvesting of body parts only.

“It is believed that certain murder gangs specialise in muthi killings. Unlike human sacrifice where death is the express purpose of the act, in muthi-related killings, death is an anticipated and accepted by-product of the garnering of human organs but it is not the main aim.

Indeed, it is often preferred that the victim remain alive during the process. When body parts, including internal organs, are removed while the victim is still alive it is believed that the power of the resultant medicine will be greatly enhanced. Depending on the wants of potential customers, the instructions that the sangomas give specifics.

“Sangomas seldom do the killing themselves. The order will include not only specifications as to which particular body part or parts are required — testicles for virility purposes, fat from the breasts or abdomen for luck, tongues to smooth the path to a lover’s heart — but the very specific manner in which they are to be collected.

“The use of human body parts for medicinal purposes is based in the belief that it is possible to appropriate the life force of one person through its literal consumption by another. For this reason, a victim is often carefully chosen — not just any person’s penis as a cure for male infertility, for instance, but that of a man with several healthy children.”

Those who grew up in Zimbabwe urban areas will recall how the shadow of ritual murder has never been far off the horizon. Some, no doubt, know of the stories of businessmen who are said to have suddenly turned rich after they lost a spouse or a child. That child, or any other loved one, is assumed to be the blood sacrifice that was necessary for their businesses to turn a sudden corner.

Such perceptions of course, may be nothing but jealous rumour, but they are not helped by actual cases like that of Robert Tazvireva, a bottle store and general dealership owner in Magunje who allegedly instructed Samuel Mushonga in 2017 to murder his own sister so he could enhance his business.

After Mushonga had allegedly fatally stabbed his sister and hacked off her head, he delivered it to Tazvireva who told him to hide it in a nearby bush. Such instances, have helped convince many that businesspeople profit from the spilling of blood.

“‘If the business is not doing well, get a boy or a girl’s head — someone who has a future — and your business will have a future too,” said Dr Gordon Chavunduka time president of the Zimbabwean Traditional Healers Association, once said.

Those who grew up in Bulawayo in the late 90s will remember the myth of men who reportedly drove around the city with a blood sucking frog, looking for unsuspecting victims to profit from.

While such urban legends have never been confirmed, they are an entertaining reminder that people live on the constant lookout for people trying to profit off their ritual sacrifice.

“I recall vividly growing up in one township in Zimbabwe. This was just when public transport in the form of the Toyota Hiace taxi had just been introduced in the country,” says Fanuel Hadzidzi of Gender Links.

“At that tender age, we were scared to death by the stories doing the rounds in the township of the disappearance of children. We were told how kids were being lured by strangers who promised them some sweets.

“The next thing, their bodies would be found in the bushes with some body parts missing. Rumours were that businesspeople were taking the children’s heads for instance to Durban in South Africa and were trading them off for the taxis. Weren’t we all scared!”

With claims of human body parts sold by vendors on the streets of South Africa and other countries, it may be a long time before ritual killings lose their lustre to those trying to make a quick dollar.

Source: Murder economy: The business, science behind ritual killings

The Limpopo River Basin (Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe). Source map: The Economist

South Africa: more on murdered Giyani girl found in dam

More details emerge with respect to the lifeless body of Tiyiselani Rikhotso, found at the Klein Letaba dam near Giyani, Limpopo, South Africa. The region is known for its ritual murders, as reported multiple times on this site. The local population calls the ritualistic murders muti (muthi) murders (webmaster FVDK).  

Murdered Giyani girl (11) found in dam had missing body parts, family say

Tiyiselani Rikhotso when she was younger. The 11-year-old was killed and her body found in a dam near Giyani.

Published: March 20, 2020
By: Sowetan Live – Peter Ramothwala  

The family of an 11-year-old girl whose dismembered body was found in a dam suspects she was murdered for ritual purposes.

Tiyiselani Rikhotso from Ndengeza village, about 40km west of Giyani in Limpopo, was reported missing on Sunday and her body was found on Tuesday in the Klein Letaba Dam.

Her discovery was preceded by a protest by the community, who went on a rampage, blockading roads.

Tiyiselani’s grandmother Christina Rikhotso, 59, said she suspected Tiyiselani was hacked with a panga as she had several open and deep wounds on her body.

“I saw those wounds on her body and they were very scary. Her right leg was chopped and still missing as we speak.

“I think she was killed elsewhere and thrown into the dam.

“If her murder is not for muthi, what will one do with a child’s leg?”

Rikhotso said Tiyiselani was found in the dam after some children tipped off community members that they saw her in the company of an unknown man.

“On our way to the dam, we found her doek and we became convinced she was thrown in there,” she said.

The grandmother said she was in church when Tiyiselani went missing on Sunday.

“I left her with her other siblings at home in the morning. Later in the day, I received a call that Tiyiselani was missing. I quickly called a few neighbours and we combed the local bushes and could not find her.

“In the afternoon, I went to the police to report a missing person. I even told them that we suspect her body was in the dam and they told me they would wait for a search and rescue team and sniffer dogs.”

Police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo said a manhunt for the killer(s) had been launched.

“The discovery was made by community members who then called the police.

“On arrival at the scene, the police retrieved the body and discovered that some of her body parts were missing,” Mojapelo said.

Mojapelo said the motive for the murder was unknown at this stage but said that murder for body parts could not be ruled out.

Tiyiselani’s father Thulani Rikhotso said he was shocked and in disbelief about his daughter’s murder.

“I arrived on Wednesday from Gauteng to see for myself. My brother, I’m heartbroken. I want police to find her killers soon,” he said.

MEC for social development Nkakareng Rakgoale has also reacted with shock to the incident.

“Incidents such as this one are again putting in the spotlight the general safety of our children in communities.

“I cannot begin to imagine how a person can decide to take away an innocent soul just like that.

“We are once again appealing to parents and communities to always keep a close eye on children who are in their vicinity,” Rakgoale said.

Source: Murdered Giyani girl (11) found in dam had missing body parts, family say

Related article:

Missing Giyani girl’s body found dismembered in Limpopo dam

Published: March 20, 2020
By: News 24 (South Africa) – Canny Maphanga

Tiyiselani Nokuthula Rikhotso. (Supplied, SAPS)
Tiyiselani Nokuthula Rikhotso. (Supplied, SAPS)

The body of Tiyiselani Nokuthula Rikhotso, a 11-year-old missing Giyani girl, was found dismembered and dumped in the local Klein Letaba Dam on Tuesday.

Rikhotso was reported missing on Monday.

“The discovery was made by community members, who called the police. On arrival at the scene, the police retrieved the body and discovered that some of her body parts were missing,” said Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo in a statement on Tuesday.

The provincial commissioner of Limpopo, Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba, strongly condemned the brutal killing of an innocent child and instructed the police to hunt down the killers.

The police have subsequently launched a manhunt.

Authorities are calling on anyone with information to come forward.

Source: Missing Giyani girl’s body found dismembered in Limpopo dam

The Limpopo River Basin 

South Africa: missing Giyani girl found dismembered and thrown in Klein Letaba dam

The fear is warranted, but we have to be careful and we should not rush to conclusions without firm evidence or an official announcement. However, the immediate reaction of a ritualistic act is telling and significant (webmaster FVDK).

Missing Giyani girl found dismembered and thrown in Klein Letaba dam

An 11-year-old child, reported missing on Monday, was found dismembered on Tuesday. Her body was thrown into the Klein Letaba dam.  
Image: 123RF/Paul Fleet

Published: March 18, 2020
By: TimesLive – South Africa

An 11-year-old girl, who was reported missing in Dengeza, outside Giyani, on Monday, was found murdered and dismembered on Tuesday, said Limpopo police.

Brig Motlafela Mojapelo said the child was found dumped at the Klein Letaba dam.

“The discovery was made by community members, who called the police. The police retrieved the body and discovered that some of her body parts were missing,” said Mojapelo.

“The motive for this murder is unknown, but ritual murder cannot be ruled out,” he added.

Provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Nneke Ledwaba condemned the brutal killing of the child and called on police to hunt down her killers.

Source: Missing Giyani girl found dismembered and thrown in Klein Letaba dam

Related article: 

‘Ritual murder cannot be ruled out’ after body of missing girl (11) found in Limpopo dam

Her dismembered body was found in the local Klein Letaba Dam

Published: March 18, 2020
By: Review (online) – South Africa

Tiyiselani Nokuthula Rikhotso was reported missing on Monday, 16 March. Photo: SAPS

LIMPOPO – The body of 11-year-old Tiyiselani Nokuthula Rikhotso, who was reported missing on Monday, 16 March has been found. Rikhotso, from Dengeza (A) outside Giyani, was last seen when she left home on Sunday, 15 March.

The police commenced with a search operation after Rikhotso was reported missing, but without success. Her dismembered body was found in the local Klein Letaba Dam on Tuesday, 17 March and the police in Giyani have launched a manhunt for the killer (s) as a result.

Klein Letaba Dam. Photo: SAPS Limpopo

Residents from the local community made the discovery and called the police who retrieved the body from the dam and found some of her body parts were missing. According to Police Spokesperson, Brig Motlafela Mojapelo, the motive for the killing is unknown but ritual murder cannot be ruled out.

The brutal killing of Rikhotso has been strongly condemned by the Provincial Police Commissioner, Lt Gen Nneke Ledwaba who also instructed the police to hunt down the people responsible for her death.

The police appeal to anyone with information that can lead to the arrest of the suspect(s) to contact Col Chris Mabasa at 082 469 0739, their nearest police station or the Crime Stop number at  086 001 0111

Source: ‘Ritual murder cannot be ruled out’ after body of missing girl (11) found in Limpopo dam

The Limpopo River Basin – South Africa

South Africa: deceased‘s missing penis sparks rampage in which angry Limpopo mourners torch 3 houses

Published: November 1, 2019
By: Howe Staff Writer

Mourners at a funeral of a 69-year-old man in Blinkwater village outside Giyani in Limpopo went on a rampage on Sunday when they discovered that his private parts were missing. 

James Makhubele was reportedly believed to have died in a hit-and-run on August 3, but family members now believe he was the victim of a ritual killing and that his body was thrown on to the road to create the appearance that he had been hit by a car. 

At the funeral, family members inspected Makhubele‘s remains and reportedly discovered that body parts were missing. 

This sparked a vigilante attack during which mourners burnt down three houses, one belonging to a man whom they believe to be the suspect and those of two of his employees. 

According to Sowetan, police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said a second post-mortem would be conducted. 

However, a policeman at the local police station reportedly told the newspaper that the first post-mortem did not find that any body parts had been removed. 

Incidents of mob justice continue to flare up throughout the country. 

Last week, that two men estimated to be around 30 years old were murdered by groups of people in separate vigilante attacks in the Eastern Cape. 

In July, in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, for stoning a murder suspect to death. 

In the same week, two women were  in the Ha-Mashau village in Limpopo. They were suspected of murdering a 12-year-old boy. Two suspects, aged 16 and 17, have been arrested.

Source: Deceased‘s missing penis sparks rampage in which angry Limpopo mourners torch 3 houses

South Africa: 14-Year-old Masia boy brutally murdered (2013 article)

Dead: Nkhumeleni Mukhado

Published: April 26, 2013
By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho

The lifeless body of a 14-year-old boy was discovered at the back of the cemetery at Majozi village last Thursday morning. It is alleged that the body has a gorged skull and was missing its private parts. It is suspected that the deceased is another victim of ritual murder.

The enraged community of Masia allegedly set a suspect’s hut on fire on Sunday night. However, the man and his family managed to slip away by jumping over the fence at the backside of his main house.

The boy’s body was first discovered in the early hours of the morning by a group of women who were walking down the mountain from fetching wood. It was later revealed that the boy came from a neighbouring village, Masia.

The body was later identified as Nkhumeleni Mukhadi by his father, Mr Frank Mukhadi.

A suspicious finger pointed at a man for whom the boy used to perform odd jobs, after some community members said that he was seen walking out of a church crusade service with him on Wednesday evening (17 April).

Mukhadi is a heartbroken man, following the discovery of his son’s body. He believes that a bicycle was used to lure his son to the Phadinwe mountain, where he was then killed for muti. “There were fresh prints of a bicycle, which led us to the spot where Nkhume was killed,” he said. “We saw blood soaked into the ground.”

Nkhumeleni was a Grade 4 pupil at Vhangani Primary School. Mr Bernard Bopape, a teacher, said that the school was unable to accept that the young boy is no more. “We need answers to his death. We need to know who killed him and the motive behind the killing.”

Bopape said the pupils could hardly focus on their school work since everyone in the village was speaking about the pupil whose private parts had been cut off.

Cllr Sarah Makhuvha  of Ward 7 maintains that she had received a sketchy report about the boy’s death from the ward committee and the deceased’s family. “There are community members who are maintaining that the man whose house was burnt had fetched Nkhumeleni from an evening church service and the boy never returned,” Makhuvha said.  “To lose a child under such horrific circumstances is really painful.”

Makhuvha, the school and affected community members continue to hold meetings at the deceased’s house, as a way of trying to comfort the family of the deceased.

The police’s provincial spokesperson, Brig Hangwani Mulaudzi, said the police had opened a case of murder. “No arrests have been made thus far, but our investigations are ongoing,” said Mulaudzi. “We are also waiting for the doctors to perform a post-mortem.”

Mulaudzi added that the police had opened an arson case after a house of a man was set alight.

Chief Vho-Thanyani Masia called for calm in the village and requested the community members who might have information regarding the boy’s killing to supply it to the police.

When Limpopo Mirror visited the village on Monday evening, there was a large number of community members scattered about the suspect’s yard with the intention of setting the remaining rooms alight. The Vuwani police kept an eye on the situation from a short distance.

Source: 14-year-old Masia boy brutally murdered

South Africa: dead man’s ‘missing private parts’ spark riot

The article presented below does not represent a firm case of a ritual killing – or muti murder, as these crimes are called in southern Africa – but illustrates the daily fear of residents of countries in the region and the reaction of the population when suspecting another case of muti murder in their neighborhood.
Mob justice means that the rule of law is absent. Governments must protect its citizens and punish perpetrators of heinous crimes like muti murders. People have a right to live without fear.
For his reason, the article has been included here (webmaster FVDK).

One of the three houses which were torched by residents on the witchhunt for suspects following the suspicious death of a local.  Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Published: August 14, 2019
By: Peter Ramothwala  

The death of a man has sparked a vigilante attack after his family members found he had body parts missing.

James Makhubele, 69, from Blinkwater village outside Giyani in Limpopo, was meant to be laid to rest on Sunday, but his family were shocked to discover his private parts were missing during a body viewing.

Makhubele was believed to have died in an apparent hit and run. But his family claimed he was killed and his body thrown on to the road to look like he was hit by a car.

Enraged community members, who were at the funeral, torched three houses belonging to three people they suspected of killing him and cutting the deceased’s body parts.

According to relatives, Makhubele’s body had deep cuts on the thighs and had his penis cut off.

Police spokesperson Col Moatshe Ngoepe said investigations have been broadened and a second postmortem would be conducted.Ngoepe confirmed the family had registered a complaint, regarding missing body parts of the deceased.

Makhubele’s niece Sophie Maluleke, 42, said her uncle was last seen at family gathering on August 3 when he retired for the night.

“When we got home we found that he wasn’t there. While we were still worried about where he could have went, somebody came to inform us that my uncle was hit by a car and he is dead,” Maluleke said.”We found him dripping blood from his pants, but his trousers were still intact.

Sophie Maluleke ,43, R, and Tsakane Baloyi. PHOTO: ANTONIO MUCHAVE/SOWETAN

“We didn’t check what caused the bleeding because we immediately called the police to the scene,” she said.

The family could not see Makhubele’s body for a week at the government mortuary in Elim because of a service delivery protest.

She said on Sunday during the funeral, rumour swirled that her uncle may have been a victim of ritual killings.

“Two men from the community volunteered to inspect the entire body during the funeral proceeding and found his private parts missing.”The deceased’s brother Rexon said they immediately called off the funeral and called the police to do further investigation.

“We were shocked. What they did to my brother is inhumane and I want whoever did this to pay.”We had already spent R20,000 for funeral costs. We had no choice, but to allow the mourners to feast,” he said.

RIP

Source: Dead man’s ‘missing private parts’ spark riot

Related articles: 

Deceased’s missing penis sparks rampage in which angry Limpopo mourners torch 3 houses

Published: August 14, 2019
By: Staff Reported (News 24)

Mourners at a funeral of a 69-year-old man in Blinkwater village outside Giyani in Limpopo went on a rampage on Sunday when they discovered that his private parts were missing, Sowetan reported. 

James Makhubele was reportedly believed to have died in a hit-and-run on August 3, but family members now believe he was the victim of a ritual killing and that his body was thrown on to the road to create the appearance that he had been hit by a car. 

At the funeral, family members inspected Makhubele’s remains and reportedly discovered that body parts were missing. 

This sparked a vigilante attack during which mourners burnt down three houses, one belonging to a man whom they believe to be the suspect and those of two of his employees. 

According to Sowetan, police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said a second post-mortem would be conducted. 

However, a policeman at the local police station reportedly told the newspaper that the first post-mortem did not find that any body parts had been removed. 

Incidents of mob justice continue to flare up throughout the country. 

Last week, News24 reported that two men estimated to be around 30 years old were murdered by groups of people in separate vigilante attacks in the Eastern Cape.

In July, 14 people were arrested in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, for stoning a murder suspect to death.

In the same week, two women were stripped naked and set alight in the Ha-Mashau village in Limpopo. They were suspected of murdering a 12-year-old boy. Two suspects, aged 16 and 17, have been arrested.

and:

Alleged ritual motivated killing sparks violence in Giyani, Limpopo (tv news broadcast – YouTube)

Blinkwater village outside Giyani in Limpopo, South Africa

South Africa: Mutilated body found on the Onverwacht Road, outside Polokwane

‘Muti murders’ are typical for Southern Africa. ‘Muti’ is the Zulu word for ‘medicine’. These crimes are ritualistic murders. The murderers and the person(s) who requested the body parts thus obtained should be brought to justice. For how long people in southern African countries have been living in fear for these ‘muti murders’? It is estimated that the number of muti murders range from one per month to one per day in South Africa alone.

A few days ago, a case of a (suspected) ‘muti murder’ was reported in the city of Polokwane, also known by its former name Pietersburg, the capital of the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Ordinary crimes may be disguised as a ‘muti murder’ in order to mislead the police, but isn’t it already quite revealing that as soon as a mutilated body is found, one thinks of a ‘muti murder’? (webmaster FVDK)

Mutilated body found on the Onverwacht Road, outside Polokwane

Published: May 29, 2018

POLOKWANE – Police have launched a manhunt for unknown suspect(s) following the discovery of a mutilated body on Monday afternoon, 28 May.

According to police spokesperson, Lt Col Moatshe Ngoepe, police received a tip off from the community about a body that was dumped in the bushes near the Onverwaght road, a few kilometres outside Polokwane.

“Upon their arrival, the mutilated body of a man in his forties was found with some body parts missing. The motive for this killing is still unknown at this stage but ritual murder cannot be ruled out,” he said.

Anyone with information which can assist the police in arresting the suspect(s) involved in the murder and who can assist in the identification of the deceased, are to contact Captain Richard Boshomane at 079 894 5501; the crime stop number 0860010111; the crime line sms 32211 or the nearest police station.

Source: Weekend Bosveld Review, May 29, 2018

Related articles:

Published by Times Live, 30 May, 2018
Mutilated man’s body found, possible muti link 

‘Justice system fails me’ – cries mother of ritually murdered son (South Africa)

Ms Mulalo Johannah Rambauli (58), told Limpopo Mirror that her son had been buried without some of his body parts.

News Date: 06 May 2018
Written by: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho

A mother’s struggle for justice after her son was ritually murdered has so far proved fruitless. Last month, the Thohoyandou Magistrate’s Court acquitted all suspects who had been pointed out as having taken part in the murder.

For the 58-year-old mother, Ms Mulalo Johannah Rambauli, the past 15 years have been a stressful and very sad period. It started when her son, the 23-year-old Mashudu Rambauli, went missing on 14 January 2003. A week later he was found with some of his body parts missing.

Rambauli told Limpopo Mirror that her son was buried without the left foot, left hand, both eyes, facial skin, both lips, three fingers on his right hand and four toes on his right foot. “He was also badly injured on the knees,” she said. “But still, we buried him without any knowledge of the whereabouts of all the parts missing from his body.”

Rambauli, who hails from Mavunde village, remembers the fateful day on 14 January, when Mashudu told them that he was going to the local soccer ground to play soccer. This would be the last day they would see him alive.

Even though the investigation into the murder started in January 2003, it took years before any information on possible suspects became available. One morning in 2010, Ms Rambauli received a phone call from the Kutama Sinthumule Correctional Centre’s chaplain’s office. There was a prisoner who wanted to meet her because he had some news he needed to share with her.

“At first I was reluctant to spend my money on transport to Louis Trichardt, where the Kutama Sinthumule Correctional Centre is situated,” she said. When she eventually arrived at the prison and the prisoner was brought to the chaplain’s office, she received the shock of her life.

“He explained that he had had sleepless nights and restless days for years, because my son’s spirit was visiting him all the time, telling him to tell me about his killing,” she told Limpopo Mirror. “He had already sought spiritual counselling from the chaplain’s office and was prepared to make a disclosure to me.”

The troubled prisoner, who was serving a lengthy prison term for other crimes, confessed that he had witnessed Mashudu’s ritual murder as he was among a group of about 20 persons who had killed the deceased. According to Rambauli, the confessor’s version of the incident was convincing.

“He explained each suspect’s key role in the planning and execution of the killing,” she said. “He was so specific with dates, times, spots and all other minute details. He said Mashudu had kicked one of the men in the groin and that the very suspect had later been admitted and treated at MediClinic. He said my son had been killed and thrown far away in the bushes. However, the confessor’s conscience troubled him, and he thought my son would rot and never get buried. He therefore convinced the other men to go fetch the corpse and come to dump it by the roadside near the homes.”

The information was later submitted to the police, and the prisoner also gave them a full confessional statement and a list of about 20 suspects. However, the police and the court allegedly failed to do their job and the inquest dragged on from 2010 until late in March this year.

“They just said there was no substantial information to prosecute the suspects,” she lamented. “That was unfair, because the confessor had told them everything. Why didn’t they follow up on the other suspect who was kicked in the groin and treated at MediClinic? There was also a time when one of the suspects started sending the confessor money via e-wallets, even though he was in prison, so that he should exclude his name. This person admitted to having sent the prisoner money on several occasions and said it was just an error because he hadn’t intended to send it to him but to another recipient.”

To further complicate matters, at least seven of the 20 suspects have since passed away.

The Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme (TVEP), who had provided counselling to the Rambauli family after the incident and the prisoner’s confession, said that they were not in the least pleased with the manner in which the court had treated the case.

“This case should have been taken to the High Court,” said the TVEP’s legal officer, Mr Fhatuwani Manthada. “There were so many facts that the Magistrate’s Court just ignored. The confessor’s original statement of confession is not even in the docket and they just used some document which we were not sure where they got it. Even the confessor didn’t recognise it,” she said.

Source: Zoutnet – News with an independent soul
https://www.zoutnet.co.za/articles/news/47116/2018-05-06/justice-system-fails-me-cries-mother-of-ritually-murdered-son

Mavunde Village, Makonde, is located in Limpopo Province, South Africa
http://travelingluck.com/Africa/South%20Africa/Limpopo/_977898_Mavunde.html

South Africa – Provinces

No room at Makuya court – South Africa

Part of the huge crowd that had gathered at the court premises, waiting for an opportunity to see the accused.

News Date: 03 May 2018
Written by: Elmon Tshikhudo

Hundreds of angry residents from Tshitavha and surrounding villages who had come to attend a ritual murder case were left disappointed as they could not be accommodated in the small court room.

This was during the appearance of the six accused in the ritual murder case of Ms Mercy Ndou. Ndou was ruthlessly murdered in 2014 and her body parts were harvested.

The Makuya Periodical Court can only accommodate about 30 people and court officials struggled to control the huge crowds that wanted to be allowed into the court. This led to a late start of the court proceedings. Only close family members were allowed to attend.

The accused, who were under heavy police guard, finally appeared in court. In a short sitting, the State indicated that it was not ready to proceed with the formal bail application as it still sought certain evidence in connection with the case and one remaining suspect still had to be arrested.

The defence argued that the State had advanced the same reasons when seeking a postponement last week. After some deliberations, the court ruled in favour of the State, saying it had advanced valid reasons for more time. The date of  9 May 2018 was given as a final postponement on which the formal bail application should be heard.

The six accused are Gerson Mathoho (52), Eric Khobo (30), Rhulani Shirindi (43), Shonisani Muruge (53), Khuthadzo Tshidino (28) and Azwinndini Ndou (42). They are charged with the ritual murder of Mercy Ndou, who was 33 years at the time of her death.

Some of the accused entering the Makuya Periodical Court on Wednesday.

Ndou, originally from Shayandima, disappeared in 2014 after telling her family she was visiting friends and that she would come back later to assist them in moving goods as they were moving to a new house at another location. That was the last time she was seen alive. Her body, with parts missing, was found in the bushes at Tshitavha.

A traditional healer, Vusiwana Baloyi, was arrested and later sentenced to life imprisonment for the crime. During his trial in 2016, Baloyi mentioned the names of the people who had participated in the killing. The police took almost two years to act on the information, and only three weeks ago they made a major breakthrough and arrested the six.

The six, two females and four males, made their first appearance in the Thohoyandou Magistrate’s Court a fortnight ago and their case was initially postponed to last Wednesday for the bail applications.

On Wednesday, hundreds of angry community members gathered at the court premises, hoping to gain entry to the court to get a glimpse of the accused. As they could not all be allowed in court, they peeped through windows, some even insulting the suspects, telling them they would not be released and that they would rot in jail. Some were urging the police to release them, so that they could be dealt with by the mob.

“We are tired of ritual murders in this area, and we know that there are still others roaming the streets. We are just happy that even those who were being protected are now behind bars and our prayer is that they be punished for their heinous crimes. They should be locked in jail forever,” said a resident who did not want to be identified.

The Reverend Jabulane Monegi, the Ndou family’s spokesperson, said the postponement suited them well. “We have faith in the justice system, and the fact that they are in custody gives us hope that the wheels of justice will move at their own speed and justice will be served at the end of the day,” he said.

Source: Zoutnet – News with an independent soul

https://www.zoutnet.co.za/articles/news/47037/2018-05-03/no-room-at-makuya-court

Tshitavha is located in Limpopo Province:
https://geographic.org/geographic_names/name.php?uni=-1873630&fid=5702&c=south_africa

South Africa – Provinces