'Cannibals' sentenced to life behind bars for muthi slaying

12 December 2018 - 18:26 By JEFF WICKS
Nino Mbatha, a traditional healer, was convicted along with Lungisani Mbatha of the murder of Zanele Hlatshwayo in Escourt in 2017.
Nino Mbatha, a traditional healer, was convicted along with Lungisani Mbatha of the murder of Zanele Hlatshwayo in Escourt in 2017.
Image: Jackie Clausen

Two men at the centre of a bloody muthi murder - which was dubbed the "cannibals case" - were sentenced  in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday to life terms in prison.

Nino Mbatha and Lungisani Magubane, both 32, were convicted for the murder of 24-year-old Zanele Hlatshwayo, of Estcourt, in July last year.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said that Magubane had approached Mbatha, a traditional healer, for muthi that would bring him luck in various aspects of his life.

Mbatha advised him that the ancestors required blood to be spilled for this kind of muthi and advised that he bring him a woman or child.

The court heard that Hlatshwayo had been beheaded by Mbatha who, with the assistance of Magubane, had removed her internal organs, hands, feet, and other soft tissue.

"They concealed the remaining body parts among some rocks," she said.

"A month later Mbatha went to the Estcourt police station where he told the officers that he needed help as he was being forced to eat human flesh. From his bag, he produced a hand and foot belonging to the deceased," Ramkisson-Kara added.

An inspection of his home later revealed the cranium of a skull, parts of a jawbone and decaying internal organs stored in various containers.

Mbatha and Magubane each received a life sentence for their part in the killing.

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