Tuesday, 16 November 2004

Mother on trial for 'ritual killing' of baby

Karyn Maughan

November 15 2004 at 01:04PM

A Khayelitsha mother, her boyfriend and a self-described "trainee sangoma" will stand trial in the Cape High Court on Monday for the alleged "muti" murder of the woman's one-year-old daughter.

Little Phelisa Msengana, whom relatives said had just "begun to run", was hit with a blunt object and strangled, before her intestines were allegedly removed and fried in a pan to make muti for her mother's boyfriend, who was looking for a job.

Her badly decomposed body was found in a large area of open veld between Khayelitsha sections 54 and 56 in July last year.

It had been hidden by shrubs and long grass for several weeks.

In her bail application before the Khayelitsha magistrate's court in August last year, 28-year-old Lindiwe Msengana said 52-year-old traditional healer Duma Hlathi Duda had killed her baby with a kudu horn.

He had later given her then-unemployed boyfriend, Bongani Mzizana, 36, muti mixed with intestine, as well as "instructions" on how to use it when asking for a job, she said.

Mzizana was not Phelisa's father.

Msengana revealed that her boyfriend had received work at the Cape Town harbour the day after the murder.

According to Msengana, the healer told her not to tell anyone what had happened to her baby, and said that she should stay indoors for two months.

She had been too scared of Duda to tell the police about what she had witnessed, she told the court.

Despite Duda's instructions that she stay inside, Msengana left home five days later, after a row with Mzizana.

Msengasna, Mzizana and Duda, who shared a home in Khayelitsha, were arrested by members of the community and handed over to the police some two months after the murder.

They all face a murder charge, as well as a charge of mutilating a body for cutting Phelisa's body open and removing her intestines.

The state, represented by advocate Greg Wolmarans, contends that Msengana, Mzizana and Duda were all responsible for Phelisa's death - either by directly taking her life or allowing her to be murdered.

Wolmarans is expected to call the police witness who secured the scene where Phelisa's body was found, as well as several of the little girl's relatives.

It is not yet known whether Phelisa's father will attend Monday's hearing before Mr Justice Deon van Zyl.

Court officials expect large numbers of Khayelitsha residents to attend the trial, after hundreds of people packed the Khayelitsha magistrate's court for Msengana, Mzizana and Duda's bail hearing.

Msengana, Mzizana and Duda are all in custody.


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