umzinto 4 identified

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Four more families of the victims of the sugarcane serial killings were painfully relieved yesterday after police confirmed that their daughters were indeed dead.

The four families are among 11 whose relatives were found dead in the sugarcane fields at Umzinto on the south coast of Durban last year.

The confirmation brings to seven the number of victims whose deaths have been certified.

Police said yesterday four other bodies had been positively identified through complex DNA tests.

The bodies are being kept at a police mortuary and will be given to the families soon for burial.

Eleven bodies were initially discovered in the sugarcane plantation near Shayamoya at Umzinto.

The first identified victim was Nombali Ngcobo, of Inanda.

She was buried in September last year. She went missing after meeting a man who had promised her a job.

Police spokesman Vincent Mdunge said yesterday that the victims' names had not been released because not all the families had been informed.

"We can confirm that four more have been properly identified and are ready for burial," he said.

In January, police released two other bodies after DNA tests proved the identity of the remains, bringing the number of positively identified bodies to seven, including that of Ngcobo.

Ngcobo left home in October to meet a man who had promised her a well-paying job.

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

The Umzinto magistrate's court again postponed the case to March 17 when charges will be read to the two suspects.

The suspects were arrested in October last year.

A third suspect was released earlier, but is now facing other criminal charges in Eastern Cape.

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

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

They are suspected of being the very first victims.

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

Families and the public have criticised the police for the "slow progress" in investigations.

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