Three free in trial of ‘cannibals’
CHARGES against three of the seven people arrested in August for allegedly murdering and then eating a Shayamoya woman have been dropped.
Nino Mbatha, Sithembiso Sithole, Lindokuhle Masondo, Wiseman Madlala and Sazi Ndlovu appeared in the Estcourt Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
Natasha Kara, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority in KwaZulu-Natal, said the State had withdrawn charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder against Masondo, Madlala and Ndlovu.
Public prosecutor Israel Zuma told the court there was not enough evidence to build a case against the three.
The State is, however, still pursuing charges against Mbatha and Sithole – who are believed to be traditional healers – as well as Lungisani Magubane and Khayelihle Lamula.
The four had previously abandoned bail.
But Kara said yesterday they indicated that they wanted to resume a bid for bail.
The case was adjourned to later this month.
An angry mob has been attending proceedings and were enraged when the charges were withdrawn against the three men yesterday.
Late one Friday night, Mbatha walked into his local police station and told the officers on duty that he was tired of eating human flesh.
He subsequently produced part of a human leg and a hand.
Investigations led police to a house in Rensburgdrift where more human remains were found.
They were eventually identified as belonging to 25-year-old Zanele Hlatshwayo, who had gone missing some months earlier.
Speaking outside court, Sizani Ngema, a resident of eSigodlweni, said the community was disappointed by the decision to withdraw the charges against some of the accused.
IFP councillor Mthembeni Majola added that he, too, was very disappointed.
The community members who had gathered outside the court refused to leave, throwing litter on the road and taunting police, who had to fire tear gas at them to get them to disperse.
Police hold a woman who had joined in a protest outside the Estcourt Magistrate’s Court yesterday after charges were dropped against three men arrested in connection with a cannibalism case.