Murder charges reinstated
The ritual murder case against a former Mpumalanga teacher and four others that was provisionally withdrawn in May has come back to haunt the suspects after it was reinstated.
Former teacher Boiki Kenneth Ngobeni, 50, Dingaan Mnisi, 22, Cannuel Godi, 21, Fumani Moyane, 27, and Jonathan Gouws, 23, appeared before the Mhala magistrate's court in Thulamahashe on Friday.
The state reinstated the charges three months after the Nelspruit court provisionally withdrew the case on May 13.
The accused allegedly hacked a Thulamahashe man, Thomas "Mthimana" Mathebula, to death in August 2005.
The group was accused of draining blood from the victim and apparently selling it to an inyanga in Gauteng.
Eight people were initially arrested shortly after the incident, but three had their cases withdrawn due to lack of evidence months before the high court withdrew the charges against the other five.
Ngobeni and his co-accused had allegedly cornered Mathebula, who worked as a cleaner at a shopping centre complex, as he left a tavern in Thulamahashe shortly after 10pm and hacked him to death.
Police found Mathebula lying in a pool of blood a few hours later after a member of the public reported the murder.
Gouws confessed and implicated the others before they were arrested.
He confessed to a mob that had apprehended him and tied him to a railway line.
They threatened to let the train run him over unless he revealed his accomplices.
Shortly after the withdrawal of the case in May, Gouws asked for forgiveness from Ngobeni.
He said he had implicated him because he wanted to save his own life.
"Sorry boss, I knew you were innocent but these people were going to kill me if I had not implicated someone," Gouws told Ngobeni at the time.
Mathebula's widow, Lucent Sibiya, said she was happy that the matter was reinstated.
"I'm happy that my husband will sleep in peace because justice seems to be prevailing," said Sibiya, the mother of three of Mathebula's children.
Ngobeni was nowhere to be found for comment yesterday, but had previously said: "I have always insisted that I was innocent but no one believed me."