Teen's ‘killers’ steamed with muti

Gabisile Shabane, 13, and Nkosikhona Ngwenya were kidnapped from their home in Hlalanikahle township in Middelburg in January 2018

15 October 2021 - 09:45
Thokozani Msibi, Brilliant Mkhize and Knowledge Mhlanga hiding from cameras in court.
Thokozani Msibi, Brilliant Mkhize and Knowledge Mhlanga hiding from cameras in court.
Image: Promise Marupeng

Witness, John Magutshwa, has revealed how the accused in the murders of a teenage girl living with albinism and her 15-month-old cousin steamed using muti before the killings.

Magutshwa was on the stand for the second day in the Mpumalanga high court sitting in the Middelburg magistrate's court on Thursday, and said Thokozani Msibi, Themba Thubane, Knowledge Wenzi Mhlanga and Brilliant Mkhize steamed using muti weekly.

Gabisile Shabane, 13, and Nkosikhona Ngwenya were kidnapped from their home in Hlalanikahle township in Middelburg in January 2018.

“They steamed together at Msibi's farm weekly from December, which was before the killings in January. The search for the children took about a month before they located the children in Hlalanikahle.

“Msibi called them (other accused) in my presence and gave them muti to steam to cleanse away the bad spirits, and I was already part of it so I went with them everywhere, but I was not there when they killed the children. I went to Eswatini for a week. When I returned, they had carried out their manhunt for albinos, kidnapped the children and done the killings,” he said.

Magutshwa said police had been looking for the children and this had caused the accused to panic.

He told the court that he was going to report them when they had completed their plan.

“It was shocking that I knew people who were capable of such but I also had to be careful because I feared they would kill me because already I knew and saw too much,” Magutshwa said.

Thubane, 40, pleaded guilty on all charges including two counts of premeditated murder, two counts of kidnapping, housebreaking with intent to commit murder and one count of violation of a corpse.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment for each murder, three years for possession of a firearm and five years each for housebreaking and kidnapping.

Another witness, Sipho Ndlovu, said he met Msibi through his late brother-in-law Mfanasbili Gamedze.

Gamedze was arrested and died in an Eswatini prison in 2017 while waiting for extradition.

“Gamedze had already narrated what had happened and said it was troubling him because police in SA were on a manhunt to find the missing children and asked me to assist him to tell police the truth.”

Ndlovu said in March 2018 he invited Msibi, who drove all night to Eswatini.

Ndlovu said the details of the murders were shocking.

“I'm a traditional healer and killing people is against the law and ancestral beliefs. I am a father and have children that could have been abducted and killed for body parts by a man such as this wizard [Msibi]. He is not a traditional healer, he is a witch,” he charged in court.

“I was taken aback when Msibi kept on insisting that he wanted to share the body parts he had brought from SA in a 2.5-litre bucket with me, but I refused and said we would discuss that after I assisted them. [But] I was sending them straight to jail. I had all the information I needed.”

He told the court that Msibi said he had two heads — of Shabane and little Nkosikhona.

They also stated that they had a heart, hands, fat from Shabane's thighs and some skin. 

“I asked where these children were kept and Msibi said he kept them alive in his plot for three days before killing them.

“I then gave them muti for stomach cramps and lied to them that it would protect them from the police and gave them wrong instructions on how to use it, just to get him out of my sight, because I was already fuming inside at the cruelty of the incident.” 

Ndlovu said Msibi told him that Shabane and Nkosikhona's kidnapping came after they failed to kidnap a woman living with albinism in Pretoria. 

“The case of these children was a second attempt. Msibi told me that after the failed mission in Pretoria, they made a breakthrough in Hlalanikahle township.”

The trial continues.

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