Muti accused in court today

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Six people, including a former policeman, accused of killing nine women for body parts will appear again today in the Scottburgh high court.

Former police officer Sandile Bhengu, 34, Thini Dumakude, 38, Muzi Khoza, 53, Popo Bhengu, 19, Clement Ngcobo, 43, and traditional healer Abigail Njapha, 63, have been charged with the murders.

The women's ears, tongues and genitals were cut off and allegedly sold to Njapha.

She has been granted bail of R10000.

Ngcobo is out on bail of R3000. The other four accused are in police custody.

Police arrested Sandile Bhengu while he had a suspended sentence hanging over his head for another murder.

A seventh accused, Xolani Bhengu, 19, turned state witness last year.

The case, which was previously heard at the Pinetown regional court in KwaZulu-Natal, drew widespread attention and condemnation from communities. It was later transferred to the South Coast high court.

Yesterday, the accused appeared before Judge Anton van Zyl, who adjourned the case for further consultation.

The judge said yesterday that he wanted the case to proceed quickly today, and to be brought to a close soon.

But according to investigators, the trial is expected to go on for at least a month.

The investigation team have been building evidence against the accused for more than a year and were waiting for DNA results and forensic reports.

Njapha had fled from her home before the trial began because she was threatened by angry members of the community.

Investigators allege that the muti syndicate operated in several areas south of Durban and the victims came from KwaMakhutha, Adam's Mission, Folweni and Umbumbulu.

The bodies of the murdered women had been dumped in dense bushes in the townships.