Couple appears in court over muthi murder

They run a church and wanted to use muthi to grow the congregation as numbers were dwindling

A COUPLE, arrested in connection with the murder of a 4-year-old girl in 2009, appeared in the Alberton magistrate's court yesterday.

The couple was arrested in their home in Katlehong on the East Rand on Tuesday.

The man and his wife allegedly killed the girl and mutilated her body before it was dumped.

The body was found on September 26, 2009 dumped near Cash and Carry store in Katlehong.

Gauteng top cop Happy Vilankulu tracked down the couple who run a church in the area and arrested them.

Vilankulu has cracked many other muthi-related murders in the past, including the conviction of Vusi Sibiya and co-accused Xolani Kubheka and Siphiwe Khanyile, who killed Johannes Banda. In 2006, Sibiya promised Kubheka and Khanyile R2000 if they brought him a human head and genitals.

He also arrested Elizabeth Thabethe, who was accused of killing her 12-year-old daughter Nomsa for muthi purposes.

"The man, who is a bishop of a local church, has confessed that he killed the girl for muthi," alleged a source close to the case.

"He said he was going to use muthi to strengthen his church. He said the number of members was dwindling and he wanted to bring them back."

Vilankulu said the couple worked with an inyanga from the Eastern Cape.

"Police are on their way to Mthatha to arrest the inyanga," said the source.

Police said when the girl's body was found, her eye and parts of her body had been removed.

They recovered some of the human tissue in which tests confirmed that they belonged to the girl.

Police did not rule out the possibility of the suspects being linked to other cases with the same modus operandi that have occurred in the area.

The case was postponed to February 23 for a bail application.