Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The case against a hairdresser and a traditional healer accused of committing a muti murder was postponed in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court

Mail&Guardian:

The case against a hairdresser and a traditional healer accused of committing a muti murder was postponed in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

The postponement was for the Directorate of Public Prosecutions to determine a date when the two will stand trial in the Pretoria High Court.

Lourenco Eric Ngoveni (30) allegedly wanted muti for his hair salon in Mamelodi and assigned Mandla Ephraim Zulu (46), who claimed to be a sangoma (traditional healer) and a prophet, to do the job.

In February last year, four-year-old Connie Ncube of Nellmapius, near Mamelodi, went missing after she was sent to neighbours to borrow a cellphone charger.

Her body was found floating in a stream later that same day. The girl's eyelids, nipples, ears, chin and a finger had been cut from her body.

During an earlier bail application by Zulu and Ngoveni, the court heard that in December 2006 a witness told the court how Zulu came to Ngoveni on the day of Connie's murder with a brief case.

There were allegedly bloodied body parts inside and Ngoveni paid his co-accused for this, the witness claimed.

This evidence led to the two men's arrest.

The witness was never identified in court, as the investigating officer feared for his/her life.

Shortly after they received this information, police took sniffer dogs to Ngoveni's salon. When the areas in the walls that the dogs pointed out were broken down, police found items wrapped in cloth between the bricks.

These were taken for forensic tests to determine whether they were the victim's body parts.

The court denied the two men bail in March this year and the case was postponed to Tuesday for forensic tests to be concluded.

Ngoveni and Zulu will appear in court again on August 1 for a high court date. The formal charges they will face are also expected to be served on them then.

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