Sugar-cane murders: Accused awaits fate

Alleged sugar-cane serial killer Thozamile Taki will know his fate on Wednesday as judgement is expected to be handed down in the Durban High Court.

Taki and his co-accused, former girlfriend Hlengiwe Nene, have been in custody since 2007.

Taki was accused of robbing and killing 13 women and dumping their bodies in sugar-cane plantations in Umzinto, KwaZulu-Natal, and in tea plantations in Port St Johns, in the Eastern Cape.

The state called more than 100 witnesses during the trial before Judge King Ndlovu.

Taki allegedly lured his victims with promises of jobs before robbing and killing them. He denied the 13 murder and robbery charges.

“I know nothing about the killings. I also did not rob anyone,” Taki said, labelling those who had testified against him liars and rejecting the evidence gathered by investigators.

Nene denied any involvement in the murders.

“I did not help him and I did not suspect he might have been involved in any illegal activities,” Nene told the court.

The couple was cohabiting in Chatsworth when they were arrested.

‘I did not suspect anything’
Nene said Taki gave her second-hand women’s clothes and cellphones, allegedly taken from the victims.

“I was shocked when the police said that the clothes were taken from the deceased. I did not suspect anything. Our relationship was normal,” she said.

Nene said Taki told her he worked for Telkom.

She told the court she had broken up with Taki after they were arrested.

“I told him that I was no longer interested because I was not happy with the arrest, which forced me to leave my children. He said he was not the one who arrested me.”

According to evidence from cellphone service providers, Nene’s number was used to call the victims. She denied that she had made those calls.

“He used my number regularly. He told me he was phoning his brother. I also left my phone in the house on several occasions, maybe he used it.”

In September Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa attended court proceedings. He said he was there to show his confidence in the criminal justice system.

During his trial, Taki was one of eight prisoners who tried to escape from Westville prison in March. He fell through a fourth-floor ceiling during the escape bid and had to be hospitalised. — Sapa

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