Alleged cannibals do not ask for bail
Aunt ashamed she had taken niece to see accused inyanga
Domestic worker Jabu Mabaso from Loskop outside Estcourt in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands bunked work so she could see for herself the inyanga she consulted with her niece last month - one of five implicated in a grisly human flesh-eating court case - face the full might of the law.
Mabaso was among hundreds of people outside the Estcourt Magistrate's Court on Monday for the bail application of inyanga Nino Mbatha, 32, Sithembiso Doctor Sithole, 31, also an inyanga, Lindokuhle Masondo, 32, Khayelihle Lamula, 32 and Lungisani Magubane, 30.
Magubane sobbed as their lawyer from Legal Aid, Thandeka Hadebe, told magistrate Arthi Sukraj her clients had decided not to apply for bail. All five men - who tried to conceal their faces with hoodies or hats - are charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder.
Outside court Mabaso said she was ashamed she had consulted Sithole but she wanted a herbal concoction to help her 17-year-old niece who suffers from a womb ailment.
"I took her to him in July when he was renting a unit at Kwa-Mike," said Mabaso. Kwa-Mike is a property in Loskop comprising shops and rental units and owned by businessman Mike Mazibuko.
Little did she know she was dealing with an alleged cannibal syndicate. She said she had bunked work to see the alleged "amazimuzimu" (cannibals).
Mabaso said she would take her niece to a medical doctor and has since thrown away the herbal concoction from Sithole.
The men were arrested after Mbatha startled police when he told them on August 18 that he was "forced to eat human flesh and he was tired of it".
He named a neighbour, Mdumiseni Mchunu, with whom he had had a fight earlier in the day, as the alleged mastermind.
His confession blew the lid on the stomach-churning practice uncovering a deep, dark secret in the industrial town.
Esigodlweni traditional healer Siphiwe Manana, who held a placard "inyanga yeqiniso ayibulali" (real inyanga does not kill), said they were appalled by the allegations of human flesh consumption.
"No one will ever trust traditional healers after this," said Manana.