victims ready for burial

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

To the "bitter relief" of grieving families, two of the ten bodies of the victims of the Umzinto serial killer have been positively identified through complex DNA tests, police confirmed yesterday.

All the bodies are being held at an undisclosed police mortuary.

A total of 11 bodies were initially discovered scattered in different parts of the sugar cane plantations near Shayamoya, south of Durban.

The first victim identified was Nombali Ngcobo of Inanda. She was buried in September last year. She went missing after meeting a man who had promised her work.

Police spokesman Phindile Hadebe yesterday said the victims' names had not been released because their families still had to be informed.

"We can confirm that two have been properly identified and are ready for burial.

"Five other bodies are still subject to the final results of the DNA tests.

"Three are awaiting facial reconstruction results. We cannot say when exactly all of these will be finalised," Hadebe said.

On Tuesday the alleged mastermind behind the murders, Thozamile Taki, and his co-accused, Hlengiwe Nene, appeared briefly in court facing 11 charges of murder and robbery.

The Umzinto magistrate's court again postponed the case to March 17 when the two will be thoroughly informed of the charges they face. Investigators had also asked the court for more time to investigate.

The two suspects were arrested in October last year.

A third suspect was released after his arrest, but is now facing other criminal charges in the Eastern Cape.

Yesterday the family of the Mpanza sisters from Folweni said they were still waiting to hear from police.

Philisiwe 27, and Nonjabulo, 21, disappeared in June last year.

The two are suspected of being the very first victims of the serial killer.

According to the Mpanza family the two women were on their way to Isipingo to meet a man who had offered them jobs that would pay them a salary of R4000 a month.

Other families and concerned members of the public have criticised the police for the "slow progress" in the investigations.

"We want to make sure that every single victim is identified before the case is finalised in court," said police spokesman Hadebe.