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Life sentences for trio who kidnapped, murdered two children for muti: NPA


Oct 29, 2021

The Middelburg High Court sentenced three men to two life terms and 27 years imprisonment each for the murder of Gabisile Shabane, 13, who was living with albinism, and her 15-month-old cousin Nkosikhona Ngwenya, in 2018.


National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Monica Nyuswa said Thokozane Msibi, Knowledge Mhlanga and Brilliant Mkhize were convicted and sentenced for two counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping, housebreaking with intent to commit crimes of murder, pointing of anything which is likely to lead another person to believe it is a firearm and violation of a corpse on Thursday, 29 October.

Themba Thubane, 41, is a co-accused who pleaded guilty to the crimes in August 2019. He was sentenced to two life terms and five years imprisonment for his role in the children’s deaths.


Nyuswa said the four men decided that in order for their business to “flourish” and generate more income, they had to use a person living with albinism for muti.

“One of the accused had knowledge of two children residing in the area. They conspired and broke into the house in Vosman near Malahleni where the victims were residing,” said Nyuswa.

The men threatened the family of Gabisile and Nkosikhona with a firearm and kidnapped the children.

“Upon realizing that Nkosikhona had no albinism, they brutally killed him and threw his body in a river stream while Gabisile’s body was found buried in a shallow grave with some body parts missing on a farm in Cullinan,” said Nyuswa.

The three men sentenced on Thursday denied all involvement in the murders. However, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Ntsika Mpolweni was able to secure a conviction with the evidence of several witnesses.


The court heard the testimony of the victim’s parents about how the children were abducted from home. A fingerprint expert linked Mhlanga to the crime scene.

A traditional healer from eSwatini also testified. He told the court that the men came to consult with him and asked for muti that would help them evade arrest.

The traditional healer asked the men why they needed the muti and they told him that they kidnapped and killed two children.

“He then gave them a wrong muti and informed the South African police hence their arrest and conviction,” said Nyuswa.

It was also revealed in court that Gabisile’s body parts, including her skull and hands, were found at Msibi’s premises.

The NPA welcomed the conviction and sentence.


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