'muthi men taken out of society'

TWO men convicted of killing a man for muthi purposes were yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment.

TWO men convicted of killing a man for muthi purposes were yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment.

Johannesburg high court Judge Lucy Mailula, pictured, said the men had to be removed from society.

"This offence was preplanned and premeditated," Mailula said.

She said Xolani Kubheka and Simphiwe Khanyile lured Johannes Simon Banda, from Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, to a secluded area and killed him.

"Their intention was to harvest his parts for muthi," Mailula said.

Kubheka, 30, and Khanyile, 25, attacked Banda, 30, who was walking home from a shebeen in 2006. They beat him on the head with a hammer, stabbed him four times in the stomach, decapitated him and removed his genitals. Banda's headless body was found in the veld near Lenasia more than a month later.

"The accused's actions were atrocious. They did not show contrition for what they did," Mailula said.

Banda's sister, Leah, told Sowetan after sentencing that she would never forgive the killers.

"They killed my brother like a dog. They did not even show remorse or apologise to us. They were laughing with their relatives after sentencing because they know they will be visited in prison. Our brother is gone forever," she said.

Mailula said the family would again be reminded of the gruesome deed as there would be an exhumation after DNA results had shown that the head discovered in Crown Mines did not belong to Banda. Police had believed it was his.

Khanyile and Kubheka's parents said they would appeal.

"The judge was harsh. They are first offenders," Kubheka's father Julius Sithole said.

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