Johannesburg - A KZN woman has been charged with human trafficking after trying to sell three albino children, aged between 7 and 13, to a traditional healer for more than R100 000.
The woman was arrested by police after the healer, James Mthembu, alerted them and a trap was set.
The 28-year-old woman from Thobothini, near Jozini, is expected to apply for bail in the Bonjeni Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
Mthembu is known in northern KZN for his stance against the killing of albinos, which is said to often be done for muti purposes. He was the first traditional healer from Zululand to publicly criticise the killing of Thandazile Nanana Msweli from Scabazini, who was an albino. Her body was mutilated after she was murdered.
He led marches to the magistrate's courts in Manguzi and Mtubatuba during the trial of Pastor Bhekukufa Sambonga Gumede, who is accused of being the mastermind behind the killing of Msweli.
Mthembu said that when the woman offered him the children, he played along, before going to the Child Protection and Sexual Offences Investigations Unit at Jozini, which set up a sting operation with detectives from Richards Bay.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said they were looking at the possibility the woman may have been involved in the disappearance of another albino boy, Maneliswa Ntombela.
The four-year-old boy was kidnapped on June 21 at Skhaleni in Richards Bay at around 7pm.
He was playing with his cousin at a church near his home. Maneliswa’s cousin told his mother, Qhaphi Ntombela, that two men abducted him and they also referred to him by name.
KwaZulu-Natal Transport and Safety MEC Mxolisi Kaunda vowed: “We will arrest the murderer and the traditional healer who buys the body parts of a person.”
President of the Traditional Healers Association of South Africa Sazi Mhlongo praised Mthembu for exposing the human trafficking.
He also said that what Mthembu did was a clear indication that those who sell human body parts are mere criminals, not traditional healers.
KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Social Development Weziwe Thusi has pleaded with traditional healers to stand up against the killing of albinos for muti purposes. She praised Mthembu for tipping off the police.
An albino woman, Thandazile Msweli from Scabazini, was murdered last year. Two men were sentenced to 20 years jail and a third, who was still a juvenile, was sentenced to 18 years.
The convicted men said they were instructed by a traditional healer who was going use the body parts of Msweli.