A man who was promised R2m for the head of a White, Indian or Coloured woman pleaded guilty in the Durban Regional Court on Thursday to killing and decapitating a Durban prostitute.
In a statement read to court by his pro bono lawyer Falakhe Khumalo, he detailed how he plotted for more than a year to get the head to pay the traditional healer who cured him of a sexually transmitted disease.
He said he and his three co-accused lured Desiree Murugan, 39, to the Shallcross Stadium in Chatsworth, Durban, where he paid her R100 for sex and oral sex.
“Whilst having sex, accused number one came behind me with an okapi knife and she saw him. I then placed my hand over her mouth so that she could make a noise. And I held her tight so that she did not move.”
Khumalo said the accused, who is a minor and may not be named, stabbed her several times.
Prosecutor Kuveshni Pillay told the court Murugan’s headless body had a total of 195 stab wounds.
In his plea, Khumalo said they dragged the body to another part of the sports field.
“[Accused number one] took out the bush knife and started to chop the head off and then I took the second turn and chopped,” he said.
He and his co-accused then took the head to the traditional healer, whom Khumalo named as Makhosi, but who is in fact Sivonkaliso Mbili, 32, the fourth accused in the trial.
Khumalo said that when he entered Mbili’s consulting room he came out with a bush knife, a shovel and two tins.
“He said I should cut off the deceased’s eyelashes and I did. And then Makhosi dissected the head with the bush knife and took out the brain and the tongue and placed it in the two tins.”
He said Mbili ordered Vusumuzi Gumede, 30 – his assistant – to bury the tins behind his [Mbili’s] house.
He said he was arrested before he could return to collect his money.
Pillay said there could be no extenuating circumstances for a more lenient sentence than that of life.
“This is witchcraft. This is not traditional medicine,” said Pillay.
“This behaviour cannot be compared to animals, because animals do not behave in this way.”
Magistrate Anand Maharaj sentenced Khumalo to life imprisonment.
The court had been scheduled to hear the pleas of the three minors, but they are now expected to appear in court on Friday.
Mbili and Gumede are fighting the charge and their bail hearing is expected to be heard on 22 September.
Municipal workers found Murugan’s body at a stadium last month.