Durban - The Durban High Court has sentenced a Pinetown woman to 50 years’ imprisonment for murdering a neighbour’s daughter, 10, for muti.
Zandile Nsele, 43, from Nazareth township near Pinetown was sentenced on Tuesday after she was found guilty on all six counts, including kidnapping and murdering Siphumelele Mzimba in 2019.
Other charges she faced were human trafficking after the girl was found without intestines, eyes, breasts or her tongue, and three counts of attempted extortion after she sent messages to the victim’s parents demanding a ransom of R20 000 for her release.
Delivering the sentence, Judge Jacqueline Henriques described the accused as a heartless woman who had no regard for human life, especially innocent children, saying she found nothing compelling that warranted a reduced sentence.
The judge said that the accused had planned the murder, and that she had seven previous convictions. In these seven convictions, the accused had used different names to avoid being found as a repeat offender. Most of the cases were for theft.
“The life term for murder was an appropriate sentence plus six years for kidnapping, 10 years for human trafficking and three years each on three counts of extortion,” said the judge.
The court said the life term and other sentences, except the extortion sentences, would run concurrently, meaning the accused would serve an effective 34 years’ imprisonment.
The accused had pleaded guilty to kidnapping and extortion, saying she had financial problems and owed a lot of people money, so she wanted to extort money from the child’s father by pretending she was a certain man who had discovered that the victim’s father had had an affair with his wife, and he wanted money as punishment for cheating with his wife.
The accused had fled to Meyerton in Gauteng to hide, but police found and arrested her. During interrogation she had told police the body was with foreigners in Clairwood, but the police did not find it there. The remains were found by police while they were taking photos of the accused’s house. They said there was a terrible smell next to the house, and started searching in the bush where they found a decomposed body that the parents identified as their daughter’s.
The two investigators, Constable Lihle Mlotshwa and Sergeant Ethel Ndlovu, welcomed the sentence, but said they were not happy that the accused did not reveal where the body parts were, nor disclose who she gave the organs to.
The victim’s parents, Mlungisi Nkala and Nozipho Mzimba, also expressed dissatisfaction that the accused decided to go to jail without revealing where their daughters’ body parts were, or what they were used for.
“We’re happy with the sentence, but would’ve been happier if she received two life terms.
“We also do not believe she was alone in this,” said Nkala.