Witchcraft killers get long jail terms

Three men convicted of killing an 80-year-old woman and her four grandchildren were each sentenced to five life terms (125 years)

The sentenced was handed down in the Mthatha High Court, the National Prosecuting Authority said.

Siyabusa Ncelani, 19, Mlulami Nkonyanebomvu, 29, and Ncedakele Nyawuzayo, 20, pleaded guilty to the crime claiming the woman, Masilenge Bambusiba, had been practising withcraft, NPA regional spokesman Luxolo Tyali in a statement.

“As the NPA we are satisfied with the sentence and believe that it will serve as a deterrent to would-be offenders that killing elderly people on suspicion that they are witches will never be tolerated by the justice system in South Africa.”   

Bambusiba and her grandchildren, aged between 4 and 17, were hacked to death in August last year at Ngqeleni in the Eastern Cape.

The statement quotes Judge Lusindiso Pakade, on handing down sentencing, as saying: “The killing of elderly people accused of practising witchcraft is very common in the Transkei and  has been continuing for a long time.    

“Now it is time for the courts to send a clear message to communities [that] it is a serious punishable offence.”    

Tyali said the court found the admission of guilt did not show remorse but a “misplaced display of courage”.

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