Two life terms and 27 years in jail for three men who killed 13-year-old albino and her cousin for muti
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Pretoria - The High Court in Mpumalanga, sitting in Middelburg, has sentenced three men, Thokozane Msibi, Knowledge Mhlanga and Brilliant Mkhize to two life terms and 27 years imprisonment each for the 2018 murder of 13-year-old Gabisile Shabane, who was living with albinism, and her 15-months-old cousin, Nkosikhona Ngwenya, after abducting the minors from their home in Vosman near eMalahleni.
The trio was convicted of two counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping, housebreaking with intent to commit crimes of murder, pointing of anything which is likely to lead another person to believe it is a firearm and violation of a corpse.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Mpumalanga provincial spokesperson Monica Nyuswa said the trio was charged together with Themba Thubane (41), who pleaded guilty in August 2019 and was sentenced to two life terms and five years imprisonment for his role in the gruesome crime.
“In January 2018, the four consulted in their quest to flourish their businesses to generate more income, and they came with a solution of bringing a person living with the condition of albinism to help solve their financial problems. One of the accused had knowledge of two children residing in the area,” said Nyuswa.
They conspired and broke into the house in Vosman near Malahleni, where the victims were residing.
“They threatened occupants with a firearm and took Gabisile Shabane and Nkosikhona Ngwenya. Upon realising that Nkosikhona had no albinism, they brutally killed him and threw his body in a river stream while Gabisile’s body was found buried in a shallow grave with some body parts missing on a farm in Cullinan,” said Nyuswa.
In court, the three denied their involvement in the murders.
“The deputy director of public prosecutions, advocate Ntsika Mpolweni, led evidence of several witnesses. Among the evidence that was led in court is the testimony of the victims parents, who told the court about how the victims were abducted from their home. Evidence of the fingerprint expert was also heard, and it linked Mhlanga to the crime scene,” said Nyuswa.
A witness from eSwatini, who is a traditional healer, also testified in court. He told the court that Msibi and others came to consult with him, seeking to get muti to be able to evade arrest by the police.
The traditional healer testified that upon questioning the group further, they told him that they had kidnapped and killed two children.
He then gave them wrong muti and informed the South African Police Service (SAPS), and the men were subsequently arrested.
“The evidence in chief also revealed that Gabisile’s body parts, which is the skull and hands, were found at Msibi’s premises,” said Nyuswa.
“The court sentenced the trio to life imprisonment on each count of murder, five years on each count of kidnapping, two years for each count of pointing of anything which is likely to lead another to believe it is a firearm, five years each for housebreaking with intent to commit crimes of murder and eight years imprisonment each for violation of a corpse.”
The National Prosecuting Authority in Mpumalanga has welcomed the conviction and sentence.