Accused killer ‘feigned horror’
Sangoma accused of gruesome beheading ‘prominent at protest’
A sangoma accused of decapitating a high school girl and hacking off her body parts had been a noisy firebrand at a march through the town to protest the grotesque slaying.
This was revealed in the Mthatha High Court sitting in Mbizana on Wednesday where Olwethu Mbalwa, 31, of KwaNikhwe village in Mbizana stood accused of murdering Sinoyolo Mgaga, 17, on October 15 2017.
He was allegedly found in possession of a human head and a woman's genitals and womb, later identified through DNA tests as Sinoyolo’s.
The teen had lived with her aunt, Noluthando Bandezi, and two cousins in the same village. The night she died she was alone.
Sergeant Lungelo Ndunge and Hawks Sergeant Tandokazi Jojo-Gwazela were called as state witnesses, led by senior prosecuting advocate Ndoyisile Lamla.
They told Judge Buyiswa Majiki that when they visited the home of the sangoma, he raised concern that the killers were still at large. He portrayed himself as a caring, law-abiding citizen willing to help find the killers. “Little did he know there were some pointers in his direction,” said Ndunge.
They said when they arrived at Mbalwa’s place the room was filled with dagga smoke.
“When I said he had the right not to talk without a lawyer, he said he did not want one as he was interested in assisting police,” Ndunge said.
Mbalwa had stolen the teen’s cellphone and called his girlfriend on it, the officer said.
“He first denied involvement in the murder, but confronted with MTN billing, and shown calls he made, he said he would tell everything,” said Ndunge.
The sangoma confessed to killing the girl, beheading her, butchering her body parts and burying the remains.
Ndunge said he also led police to the hidden body parts.
Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Andile Nohiya of Legal Aid SA, Jojo-Gwazela said a man was brought in for questioning but released as there was no evidence against him.
The officer said the man had told Sinoyolo’s aunt that he wanted her head so that a sangoma could make muti to make them rich. The aunt had reportedly not been arrested.
The state has called four witnesses – the two policemen, Mbalwa’s ex-girlfriend Andiswa Mavuka and Sinoyolo's mother, Nomthunzi Mgaga.
Mbizana station commander Lt-Col Arnold Freemantle, who headed the investigation, is set to testify on Thursday...