Three free in trial of ‘can­ni­bals’

The Mercury - - NEWS - Ber­nadette Wol­huter and Non­tuthuko Ngubane

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.

PIC­TURE: DOC­TOR NG­COBO

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.

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