‘When he cut her open, she did not scream’

Time of article published Jul 21, 2011

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A witness watched as schoolgirl Masego Kgomo was mutilated, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

Albert “Nono” Mathebula was testifying in the trial of Brian Mangwale, who has pleaded not guilty to of murdering and raping the 10-year-old Masego and selling her body parts for muti.

Mathebula was initially also arrested in connection with Kgomo's murder.

He testified on Wednesday that he was smoking dagga with friends on the night of December 31 2009 when Mangwale arrived in a car with a man named Jan, a woman in sangoma's clothing and a young child.

He and two of his friends accompanied them to a sangoma's house in Soshanguve.

Mathebula went inside with the woman, who carried the child. His friends stayed in the car.

He told the court that he and Mangwale were given cooldrink which contained something that made him feel dizzy, out of control and hear voices in his head.

“On entering, we found initiates. They were dressed in sangoma clothing,” Mathebula testified.

“... The lady came in with a cloth. The child was not crying. It appeared she was also made to eat or drink something. When Jan cut her open, she did not scream.

“... I did not see the other parts. I only saw the internal organs. When she was cut open I looked so I could see what it is inside a woman's body.

“Jan continued to cut open the child. When they were removing the organs I vomited,” he said.

Mathebula said the child's body was later put into the car boot and he and his friends were dropped off at a party.

“My friends asked me what happened with the child. I did not tell them. I was afraid,” he said.

Mangwale’s trial was previously postponed for judgment, but Judge Billy Mothle called Mathebula and two other witnesses to shed more light on the killing.

The other witnesses, a magistrate and a senior policeman, testified that Mangwale made confessions and a pointing-out to them in March last year about the alleged murder and mutilation of another young girl.

They said Mangwale told them how the girl was lured into their car and taken to bushes near a river, where a sangoma called Jan Maleka cut out her tongue and cut off both her breasts before removing her womb.

The sangoma took the body parts with him when they left the child's body behind in the bushes.

Mangwale told them he was paid R4500 for the job.

They said Mangwale showed no signs of having been tortured or forced to make the statement and told them he wanted to clear his conscience.

Mangwale has claimed that he was tortured by the police and was forced to confess to Kgomo's murder and that of another young girl, which he could not have committed as he was in jail at the time.

A number of confessions, in which he has given different versions of the murder, have been admitted as evidence against him.

Mothle criticised the State and police for the way in which the case had been presented, saying it had been left up to him to go and find the witnesses.

He said it was clear that a number of people had been involved in the murder and he wanted to know why the others had not been charged.

Prosecutor M J Makgwatha said the only evidence against other possible perpetrators was contained in Mangwale’s confessions, which could not be used as evidence against them.

Other accused might still be charged if new evidence emerged, but it was possible that they might never be brought to justice.

She said the State did not want to call any of the alleged accomplices as witnesses because the National Prosecuting Authority was not prepared to offer them indemnity from prosecution.

The trial was postponed to August 8 for possible new witnesses, failing which Mothle would give judgment. -

Sapa

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