Richard Masemola, 34, killed the child because a sangoma needed his body parts for a ritual..
Richard Masemola, 34, killed the child because a sangoma needed his body parts for a ritual..

Life sentence for murderer who killed 4-year-old boy for his body parts

By Botho Molosankwe Time of article published May 13, 2021

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Johannesburg - The kidnapping and murder case of a child whose body was found without some of his parts has come to an end after seven years. His killer has been slapped with a life sentence.

The Mpumalanga Division of the High Court sitting in Middleburg, sentenced Richard Masemola, 34, to life imprisonment for the premeditated murder of the 4-year-old boy and a further 10 years for kidnapping.

However, while the case against Masemola has ended, police are looking for Esser Masombuka whom they believe can be of assistance in the finalisation of the investigation. Those who know his whereabouts are asked to contact Detective Sergeant Thulani Mahlangu at 071 401 6360.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said Masemola lured the child with the promise of buying him sweets and snacks on August 4, 2014.

By the time the boy’s mother and grandmother realised he was missing, Masemola had vanished from Ga Makola in Siyabuswa where the boy lived.

“The family became devastated when they could not find their child and subsequently, reported the matter to police as Masemola kept on making empty promises, indicating that he would bring the boy back.”

Hlathi said news broke two days later that a boy’s body had been found in bushes.

It had been stashed in a bag and some of its parts were missing. It turned out to be that of the missing boy.

Masemola, who was the main suspect, was traced to Enkangala where he was arrested and charged with kidnapping and murder.

“During court proceedings, Masemola indicated that he was hired by a certain traditional healer to take the boy and was promised a lucrative payment in return.

“His statement was rejected by the court and he was told that he was negligent in his dealings with his traditional healer. The judge further told him that he ought to have known that, when he was told to submit the boy on the day, that meant rituals where going to be conducted on him without the consent of the parents.”

The judge then slapped Masemola with a life sentence.

Acting Mpumalanga Police Commissioner Major General Thulani Phahla said he was elated at the sentence handed down because the crime had been evil and should not be emulated by anyone.

“Genuine traditional healers have indicated that it is a myth that body parts of a human being can bring some fortune to another human being. Therefore the action of the accused is barbaric," he said.

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