A WOMAN whose sister was murdered burst into tears yesterday when she recounted how the alleged killer phoned her using her sister's cellphone.
"The man phoned me using my sister's phone weeks after her disappearance," a visibly distraught Bongi Mgobhozi told the Scottburgh high court yesterday.
"He arrogantly told me to go and check her body at a government mortuary in Gale Street in Durban."
Mgobhozi's sister, Makhosi, was one of the 13 women whose decomposed bodies were found in sugarcane plantations in Umzinto, KwaZulu-Natal, and tea plantations in Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape.
Thozamile Taki faces 13 counts of murder and 13 of armed robbery with aggravating circumstances.
Taki's co-accused, Hlengiwe Nene, is charged as an accessory to the 13 robberies.
When Judge King Ndlovu asked Mgobhozi to give details of the conversation she had with her sister's alleged killer, she burst into tears.
"When he first called me, he told me that he was craving to have sex with me. When I asked him where my sister was, he arrogantly told me not to demand answers," said Mgobhozi.
Taki, 36, allegedly promised Makhosi a job at sugar producer Tongaat-Hulett just before she disappeared.
The state alleges that Taki promised his victims work in Umzinto. The victims were told they needed R1500 to pay for accommodation. They left their homes to meet someone, but would not be reachable on their cellphones after that.
Eight of the state's 103 witnesses have testified since the beginning of the trial last Thursday. According to Cebisile Nxumalo, Taki approached Makhosi in Isipingo in 2007 at a clothing shop where she worked.
"Makhosi and I worked together at the clothing shop. Makhosi told me that Taki had promised her a job. Taki came to our shop and Makhosi introduced him to me. She told me she was going to meet him the following day so that they could go to Hulett. That was the last time we saw her."
Earlier during yesterday's court proceedings, Taki's lawyer Thulani Shange said police had beaten his client. "My client will tell this court that he was severely beaten by police when he was arrested. He was in pain during the identification parade."
Shange was speaking during cross-examination of police Inspector Edward Mzinyane. According to the state, most of the victims' cellphones were found in Taki's house in Chatsworth or with someone who knew him. Bank, welfare and clothing account cards belonging to some of the victims were also allegedly found in Taki's house.
Taki and Nene have pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The trial continues. - Sapa