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'Sugar cane killer' faces trial at last

By Sne Masuku | Jul 16, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THE families whose loved ones fell victim to the Shayamoya sugar cane plantation murders might soon see justice done.

THE families whose loved ones fell victim to the Shayamoya sugar cane plantation murders might soon see justice done.

The families last week received a long-awaited visit from the team of investigators in the case, who informed them that a trial date has been set after they waited anxiously for almost two years.

The relieved families hope they will now finally find out why the suspects - arrested for the killing of their relatives - committed such vicious crimes.

Sowetan has confirmed that the trial date has been set for July 27 to 30.

Owing to security reasons the police have asked the media not to publish the name of the high court the suspects will appear in.

The chief suspect, Thozamile Taki, 36, and his girlfriend Hlengiwe Nene, 32, were arrested in 2007, charged with killing 11 women found in the sugar cane fields near Umzinto on KwaZulu-Natal's south coast.

They were arrested in September in Welbedach, near Chatsworth.

Identity documents and CVs and a number of cellphones, believed to have belonged to their victims, were found at the house they were occupying.

The case has been dragging for almost two years, with the suspects remanded after being refused bail.

Police spokesperson Vincent Pandurum confirmed that a trial date had been set.

When asked why it took so long to bring the suspects to trial, Pandurum said: "The case has taken some time due to the nature of charges being investigated - as well as the fact that the accused had asked for a change of his legal representative.

"This obviously entitled many changes in terms of the administrative processes involved."

Taki allegedly lured his victims by telling them that he was going to place them in well paid jobs and that he would also find them suitable accommodation

Police say he would make an appointment to meet them to show them where they would be staying but then took them to the sugar plantation where he raped them before strangling them.

When police began discovering more and more bodies, it was concluded that a serial killer was on the loose.

The family of the murdered Folweni sisters, Nonjabulo and Philsiwe Mpanza, say they have been in the dark for too long - not knowing when the case would go to court.

A family member, Samke Chili, said though they were hopeful that justice would be done, the court case would bring back "a lot of bad memories".

"We are happy that the case is finally moving and that we will finally hear why our siblings had to die," Chili said.

"But we are also sad because we were beginning to heal from this so when we heard from the police again all the memories came rushing back.

"It is still very painful to think that we will never see them again."

The 11 bodies were found in different areas of the sugar cane plantation. Some were in a such a decomposed state that extensive DNA tests had to be conducted to identify the bodies because there were so many families with missing persons who came forward, believing that their lost loved ones had been found.


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