Trio in murder of 13-year-old girl with albinism denied bail

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COURT GAVEL Gavel
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The three men accused of the kidnapping and murder of a 13-year-old girl with albinism have been denied bail in the Witbank Magistrate Court. 

Thokozani Msibi, Brilliant Mkhize, Themba Thubane and Knowledge Mhlanga allegedly broke into the Shabane household in Hlalanikahle, Mpumalanga on January 28, where they kidnapped and later murdered Gabisile Shabane and her 15-month-old cousin, Nkosikhona Ngwenya. 

Msibi was arrested in February and denied bail in the same court on March 6. 

A fifth suspect, Thulani Thobela turned state witness following his arrest. 

In an affidavit he drafted, Thobela alleged that Gabisile was kidnapped and murdered with the purpose of harvesting her body parts by Msibi, Thubane and Mhlanga. 

Magistrate Darleen Venter said the three failed to show the court exceptional circumstances on why they should be granted bail. 

Venter further said by granting bail to the trio, it could jeopardise investigations as Shabane’s missing body parts are yet to be discovered. 

“Insofar as the intimidating witnesses, the court knows that the mother of the deceased, who is also an eyewitness in the matter, has been attending court proceedings and has been seen by the applicants. They know where she lives and that could endanger her life,” Venter said. 

“If indeed the applicants know where the remaining body parts are, they may go back and destroy them, rendering the state’s case weak and interfering with investigations.”

She said the applicants failed to show the court that the state’s case was weak in light of the evidence brought against them. 

“The court’s decision cannot be influenced by the issue of public interest but we can see that the community is upset. The applicants’ release from custody will pose as a danger as it will disturb public order,” Venter said. 

Venter postponed the matter until June 1 for further investigations. 

Gabisile’s missing body parts include her arms, heart, lungs, vagina, uterus, ovaries, all the abdominal organs and the bladder. The head, one arm and a part of the vagina were later found at Msibi’s home.

It was further heard in court that Thubane and Mhlanga, who allegedly run an illegal private college, sought the help of Msibi - traditional healer - in making their business flourish. 

Msibi is alleged to have hatched the plan of locating and kidnapping a person living with albinism to use their body parts to improve Thubane and Mhlanga’s success. 

After consulting with Msibi, the pair allegedly travelled to three provinces; Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo in search of a person with albinism but failed to locate one. 

Msibi allegedly met with the pair and told them he located Shabane and conspired to kidnap her. 

Shabane and Ngwenya were then kidnapped  and murdered. Shabane was found in a shallow grave in Cullinan, east of Pretoria while Ngwenya was found on the side of the N4 Highway where he was dumped after being killed. 

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