The marathon judgment in the trial of alleged serial killer Thozamile Taki and his accomplice Hlengiwe Nene is expected to continue in the Durban High Court on Thursday.
Taki has been charged with the murders of 13 women and 13 counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances.
The State alleges that he lured 11 women by the promise of high-paying jobs to the sugarcane fields at Shaya-moya, Umzinto, where he robbed them of their belongings before strangling them in 2007.
Two more victims were lured by Taki to tea plantations in KwaMajola in the Eastern Cape where he killed them.
Taki’s former girlfriend, Hlengiwe Nene, is charged as an accessory after the fact in connection with the robbery charges.
At the start of his judgment on Wednesday, Judge King Ndlovu urged those present in the court to be patient as he had a large amount of evidence to comment on.
“I know this is the day that everyone was waiting for, including the accused. But I urge you to be patient, this is not a short judgment.
“There were over 100 witnesses in this trial that started in July 2008 and ended in September this year.”
Ndlovu went on to discuss the vast amount of evidence in the case including cellphone evidence which experts said showed that Taki had used the victim’s cellphones to talk to Nene and prospective victims.
Ndlovu said Nene had also used some of the phones and spoke to the victims before they disappeared.
The alleged plot was uncovered after sugarcane workers found decomposed bodies while clearing the fields in September. Police set up a task team led by the Port Shepstone Organised Crime Unit.
The public gallery was packed with relatives of the victims and members of the ANC Women’s League, who were dressed in their traditional green and black. As the court heard details of the crimes, one woman burst into tears and could not be consoled.
She had to be escorted out of the court by her equally distressed relatives.
Officers from the Public Order Policing unit and the Tactical Response team were also at the court and kept guard at the entrances.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa arrived at court after the lunch adjournment and listened to the proceedings.
When Taki walked into the dock, he was taunted by the public, who sang songs about him including one which said: “Wathi uyabaqasha kanti uyababulala uTaki akafele ejele.” (You said you wanted to hire them but you wanted to kill them.)
Samke Mpanza, whose sisters Philisiwe, 21, and Nonjabulo Mpanza, 27, who were allegedly promised jobs by Taki but were later killed,said listening to the judgment was difficult. “It’s really sad to relive it all again because we have been trying to forget. Whatever happens to him (Taki) will not help us.
“It’s also very hard to see my sisters’ kids growing up without their mothers as they will wonder what happened to them,” she said.
Thandokuhle Ngcobo, the aunt of another victim, Nombali Ngcobo, broke down and cried during yesterday’s proceedings,
Outside court, Ngcobo battled to describe how she was feeling.
“Today is not a good day at all because even if he goes to jail my niece will not wake from the dead,” she said as she tried to hold back her tears.
The judgment resumes on Thursday. - The Mercury