Muti killers sentenced

Desiree Murugan would have been 43-years-old, this December.

Three years and numerous court appearances later, a Croftdene family finally received closure for the brutal murder of mother of one, Desiree Murugan, after her killers were sentenced at the Durban High Court, on Wednesday.

Thuso Thelejane, Mlungisi Ndlovu, Mbali Magwala and Sibonakaliso Mbili were all sentenced for their role in the murder of Murugan, whose decapitated corpse was discovered by municipal workers at the Shallcross Sports Stadium, in August 2014.

Thelejane and Ndlovu were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment each, Magwala was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment and the traditional healer, Sibonakaliso Mbili, was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment.

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In a press release issued by the National Prosecuting Authority, regional spokesperson of the Director of Public Prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal, Natasha Kara, said, Mbili, a professed traditional healer from Mfume in the KZN South Coast, had at some point prior to the murder, requested Falakhe Khumalo to procure the head of an Indian, White or Coloured female and offered to pay up to R2 million rand for it.

Khumalo confessed to his role in the crime and is already serving a life sentence after he pleaded guilty in 2014, while a sixth accused, Vusumuzi Jabulani Gumede, was acquitted of being an accessory to the murder earlier this year after serving two and a half years in prison.

The area, where the body was found.

“Khumalo then discussed this proposition with Thelejane and Ndlovu, and they agreed to assist him. Magwala also joined them and together they strategised on getting the human head. They eventually decided that a prostitute would make an ideal victim and identified the deceased as their target. On August 17, 2014, Khumalo, Thelejane and Ndlovu armed themselves with a knife and bush-knife before approaching the deceased to procure her services. She was lured to the Shallcross Sports Field and had sexual intercourse with Khumalo while accused Ndlovu stood guard. Thelejane, who was hiding himself, then attacked the victim, stabbing her. She was stabbed about 195 times before being decapitated,” said Kara.

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She also confirmed that they then went to their friend’s home where Magwala washed the head of the deceased. “Khumalo and one of his co-accused then delivered the head to Mbili, who advised them to return a few days later for their payment. They were arrested soon after. Thelejane, Ndlovu and Magwala were minors at the time of the commission of this offence,” she said.

In aggravation of sentence, Senior State Advocate, Sheryl Naidu, led the testimony of the deceased’s sister. She described the deceased as a good and kind person who did not deserve to die in such a horrific and barbaric fashion.

The Director of Public Prosecutions in KwaZulu Natal, Adv Moipone Noko, said, “The sentence is indeed welcomed under the circumstances. Hopefully the scourge of muti killings in the province will be positively impacted by sentences of this nature. Congratulations to the prosecutor on a job well done.”

Speaking about the outcome of the sentencing, Murugan’s sister Jenette and elderly mother, Ambi, said they are relieved that the court cases are over and they can finally have closure, but are disappointed that all six of the accused involved in Desiree’s murder were not given life sentences.

ALSO READ: Mourners bid final farewell to beheaded Croftdene mum

“Although we are glad that this case has finally been put to bed, we are upset that the three accused who actually were involved in the killing will be let back into society after they serve their sentences. Nevertheless, we commend the state prosecutor who handled the matter, Sheryl Naidu, the team of police officers from the Chatsworth SAPS who were instrumental in apprehending the suspects, Det W/O Cleao Loganathan, Det W/O Robin Singh, W/O Rama and Cpt Sithole. If it were not for the people mentioned, justice for my sister would have never prevailed,” said the Murugan family.

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Yoshini Perumal
Journalist

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