DURBAN - A PINETOWN woman, in her plea before the Durban High Court on Monday, denied killing her friend’s daughter and selling her body parts.
Zandile Nsele, 40, from Nazareth, near Pinetown, is accused of kidnapping, murder, contravention of the National Health Act, and three counts of attempted extortion. She pleaded guilty to kidnapping and extortion.
Senior State advocate Cheryl Naidu stated that on June 13, 2019, Nsele deprived Siphumelele Mzimba, 10, of her liberty by restraining her neck and ankles with cable ties, and preventing her from returning to her home.
The next day, Nsele allegedly killed Siphumelele and allegedly removed internal organs or other soft tissue from her body, in a manner not provided for or for a purpose other than those permitted in terms of the Health Act.
It alleged that, for three days, Nsele demanded a ransom of R20 000 from Siphumelele’s mother for the safe return of her daughter. Siphumelele’s mother and Nsele often visited each other.
The State claimed that Nsele was experiencing financial difficulties and, therefore, planned to kidnap and murder the child, demand a ransom from her parents, and remove her organs or body parts and sell them.
Siphumelele’s body was found on July 4. The cause of death was undetermined due to advanced decomposition.
In her plea statement, Nsele said she rented a two-room house in Nazareth township, with her two nieces. Her husband worked and lived in Johannesburg. Her children, aged 15 and 14, lived with their grandmother in Empangeni.
Nsele said she was self-employed as a street vendor in Pinetown. With the income, she paid rent and sent money for her children. Her husband was sending her money, but stopped after he was retrenched in January 2019.
Siphumelele visited Nsele on June 13.
“I was not in a good state of mind. At the time, I owed money to a lot of people in the area. As I sat there, I was thinking of ways to make extra cash to supplement my income and pay my creditors … I then came up with a plan to send an SMS to Siphumelele’s parents and pretend to be a certain male person known to her father. I was going to make up a story and say Siphumelele’s father had an affair with the wife of this male person and, as a result, the family was broken up,” Nsele said.
Nsele said she prevented Siphumelele from leaving because it would have thwarted her extortion plan. In her plea, she said Siphumelele put up a fight while trying to free herself. Nsele quickly grabbed cable ties and restrained her.
Nsele said she heard noises outside the house and left to investigate.
“I left her on the floor, lying face down. I returned home. I noticed Siphumelele was not moving … I put Siphumelele in my suitcase and carried it to the bush not far from my house. I took Siphumelele out, left her there, and returned home,” said Nsele.
Nsele said she sent an SMS to Siphumelele’s father and mother, demanding R20 000, requesting that the money be deposited at a Spar. They did not respond to her messages. Nsele was arrested in Johannesburg. Her husband took her to Meyerton Police Station.