No bail in child muthi case

Mother was member of the accused's church - until her daughter (9) was cut up while alive, then murdered

THREE of the four people accused of mutilating the body of 9-year-old Yonela Skweyiya while she was still alive were denied bail in the Alberton magistrate's court yesterday.

Refusing bail to Eden church bishop Monde Tokwe, his wife Nolofefe Magasane and Fundisile Sidumo, magistrate Guiseppe Martini said: "The murder was executed in a calculated manner. It was a very callous deed. Accused one (Tokwe) wanted to increase wealth and prestige."

Their accomplice Vusi Mofokeng was denied bail three weeks ago.

Martini said the community would expect the court to protect it from such crimes.

The state alleges that Tokwe and Magasane consulted Mofokeng, an inyanga from KwaZulu-Natal, when they started losing members at their church. Mofokeng allegedly told them to get human body parts that he would mix with muthi to help them bring back churchgoers.

Yonela was kidnapped while on her way to meet her mother at the local shops in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni, in May last year.

Her body was found in an open veld in the area.

Outside court, Yonela's mother Noluthando Skweyiya said that she was "happy with the court's decision".

"It's been hard. Things have not been the same since she died. I don't sleep at night and always think about what happened to my daughter. I have lost weight because I don't eat properly," she said.

Skweyiya said she was a member of the accused's church but stopped attending soon after the murder of her child.

The case was postponed to June 13 for trial.