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11 Oct 2007 16:27
Charges of murder, kidnapping and violating a corpse were withdrawn on Thursday against two men accused of killing a four-year-old girl for muti.
Hairdresser Lourenco Eric Ngoveni (30) and sangoma and prophet Mandla Ephraim Zulu (46) were supposed to appear in the Pretoria District Court to receive their indictment and date of their trial in the high court.
The directorate of public prosecutions (DPP) earlier ordered that the men should face the three charges.
But on Thursday prosecutor Lucas Choma received a letter ordering him to withdraw charges as the DPP had declined to continue prosecution.
He was told to submit all information and statements to the magistrate so that an inquest could be held into the circumstances and cause of death of Connie Ncube.
A list of witnesses who have to be subpoenaed for the inquest were provided, including the two accused; Connie’s mother, Maria; and the investigating officer.
“Upon completion of the inquest you must furnish a motivated report dealing with the prospects of a successful prosecution,” the letter stated.
The accused were arrested in December last year, after Connie’s badly mutilated body was found in a stream in February that year. A little finger, her eyelids, lips and nipples had been cut off.
During the accused’s bail application, the court heard the men were seen with a suitcase filled with fresh body parts.
It was alleged Ngoveni had paid Zulu for the muti to ensure the success of his new hair salon.
Police and sniffer dogs investigated this building, finding objects wrapped in cloth cemented between the bricks.
Ngoveni and Zulu were denied bail after the court found it was in the accused’s own interest and safety as the Nellmapius community’s anger was obvious.—Sapa
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