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Teacher to be sentenced for muti murder of albino teen, baby

20 August 2019 - 13:39 By NONKULULEKO NJILO
A Mpumalanga teacher has admitted to killing for muti. File photo.
A Mpumalanga teacher has admitted to killing for muti. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/ IStock

A teacher in Mpumalanga who admitted killing a teen who had albinism for muti, as well as her baby cousin, will soon learn how long he will spend behind bars. 

Sentencing proceedings against Themba Thubane were expected to commence on Friday in the Middelburg high court.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed that Thubane had pleaded guilty to seven charges.

Provincial NPA spokesperson Monica Nyuswa said the man admitted to killing Gabisile Shabane, 13, for muti purposes, along with her 15-month-old cousin Nkosikhona Ngwenya.

The two children were abducted from a home in Vosman near Emalahleni on 28 January 2018.

The toddler did not have albinism and was killed by drowning after being thrown into a river.

Police said in a statement the court heard through Thubane's guilty plea that Gabisile was killed before being decapitated and chopped up for her body parts. Her remains were  buried in a shallow grave at Cullinan in Gauteng.

Thubane's co-accused, Thokozani Msibi‚ Brilliant Mkhize and Knowledge Mhlanga, have pleaded not guilty and are expected to return to court on May 25, 2020. The case is set down until June 12. The trio remain in custody.

More than a year since their tragic ordeal, the family expressed relief at the commencement of sentencing proceedings.

In an interview with eNCA, family spokesperson Chantel Ngwenya said the delays had caused unbearable pain to the family.  

"We're really happy the trial has commenced because we have been waiting for a long time. The waiting was killing us as a family. We are happy even though the others did not admit to committing the crime. It's painful to us, it shows that they are not remorseful for the pain they've caused us." 

On Thubane's guilty plea, Ngwenya said: "We hope that we will be able to find closure from the one that admitted to committing the crime. To us it shows he is remorseful, he has a conscience inside him, he regrets it." 

The family hopes the sentence will take into account the immense pain caused to them by the killings.