The Pietermaritzburg High Court sentenced two men to life imprisonment on Wednesday for beheading people and using their body parts for medicine, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said.
Spokesperson Natasha Kara said that Thandowakhe Duma, 22, and Elias Sihle Mchunu, 42, were sentenced on charges of murder, robbery and kidnapping that they committed in October 2015.
“The accused in this matter wanted human body parts for medicine and therefore conspired to kill people in order to attain their goal. Armed with a bushknife, the accused accosted the first deceased, Bawinile Albertina Gambushe in the Chandinagar area near Umzinto,” Kara said.
“She was taken to a bushy area where she was assaulted with the bushknife and died on the scene as a result of her injuries. The accused stole her cellphone and left, only to return a few days later to sever her head and remove parts of her body.”
Kara said that Dane Ramparthab, from the Chandinagar area, was picking mangoes off a tree when the men attacked him. Duma and Mchunu dragged him off the tree and struck him with the bushknife before they tied his hands behind his back and led him to a secluded area where he was assaulted further. He was forced to stay with them, but eventually managed to escape from them.
“The last victim, Nawaaz Khan lived in the same area and was known to the accused. He went with the accused to a bushy area on the Isonto Farm. Once there, the accused turned on him, assaulting him with the bush knife. He died on the scene as a result of a sharp force wound on the neck,” Kara said.
“The accused then severed his head from his body and removed some body parts for medicine. They also stole two cellphones that the deceased had in his possession.”
Kara said that in aggravation of sentence, Senior State Advocate Dorian Paver told the court that the crimes committed by the Duma and Mchunu were “callous and devious” and it caused great pain to the family of the deceased and trauma to Ramparthab.
He said that both accused had a blatant disregard for the lives of their victims.
Paver handed in victim impact statements facilitated by Court Preparation Officer, Thobekile Chuene and compiled by the complainant as well as the families of the deceased.
In the statements, all the writers spoke of the trauma and devastation they felt as a result of the actions of the accused, she said.