Mthethwa attends judgement in sugar-cane murders case

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa was in the Durban High Court on Wednesday as judgement was handed down in the case against sugar-cane serial murder accused Thozamile Taki.

Mthethwa sat in the front row of the court.

Judge King Ndlovu warned the judgement would take some time.

“I would like to comment on the fact that this day has been awaited by many of us, including the accused. This is the moment. I beg the people to be patient, this is not a short judgement,” said Ndlovu.

People believed to be family members of the deceased could not contain their emotions. There were loud cries from the gallery as Ndlovu named the murdered women.

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.

Trial within a trial
Ndlovu began summing up various aspects of the trial.

“The state alleges that accused number one [Taki] took cash of about R300 to R3 000 from the deceased … During the trial evidence was given that the accused also took police to the scene of the crime,” said Ndlovu.

He said the defence challenged this and the matter became a trial within a trial.

Ndlovu said according to the evidence presented before him, Taki had used a SIM card in a deceased’s cellphone.

“Accused number two [Nene] allegedly communicated with some of the deceased before their death.”

A large number of African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) members were picketing outside the court. Others were listening to procedures in court.

The women sang: “I am afraid of you Taki”, “You promised a job but you killed them” while he was escorted out of court for a lunch break.

Weziwe Thusi, the provincial minister for arts, culture, sport and recreation, was among the ANCWL supporters.

The judgement was postponed until Thursday — Sapa

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