Relatives of murdered schoolgirl Masego Kgomo cheered when muti killer Brian Mangwale was sentenced to life imprisonment for her gruesome murder by the High Court in Pretoria on Monday.
Mangwale showed little emotion and smiled slightly after being sentenced.
People in the public gallery jeered as he was being led down the steps to the court cells.
Judge Billy Mothle sentenced Mangwale to life imprisonment for the December 2009 murder of the 10-year-old schoolgirl and another six years imprisonment for kidnapping her.
The judge said the manner in which she was killed was severely aggravating. There was evidence the girl was still alive when her womb and breast were cut out. They were sold to a traditional healer for R4800.
Mothle said Mangwale failed to show any remorse throughout the trial and, despite making a number of confessions about the murder, insisted he was innocent. He never told the court who his co-conspirators were and participated in looking for his victim when he knew where she was.
Because of Mangwale's actions, her family would never have closure because there was no indication of what the other people did or where they were.
The judge said the extraction of body parts for use as muti to solve marital, financial or personal problems had never been proven to be effective.
Criminals who preyed on the children had no place in society and must be removed for their own safety and the safety of others, Mothle said.
Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana welcomed the sentence.
“He belongs in jail and he must rot in jail. I agree with the judge that this muti and witchcraft is unscientific and unfounded,” she told reporters at the court.
“Those out there who continue this barbaric witchcraft must know they will be met with the full force of the law... This is not traditional healing. This is murder.
“We will work with the police and the community to ensure that the others who were involved are brought to book,” Xingwana said.
Last week Xingwana planted a tree in memory of Masego as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Child Abuse campaign. A memorial park was being planned at the place where her Kgomo's body was found. - Sapa