/ 19 January 2011

Jubilation as sugar-cane serial killer sentenced

“Sugar-cane” serial killer Thozamile Taki had been a jackal in a sheepskin in the way he lured and killed 13 women, a Durban High Court judge said on Wednesday.

“I watched the accused during the trial, he was callous and insensitive. He smiled when witnesses gave evidence and were in tears,” said Judge King Ndlovu.

He said Taki was a real “jackal in a sheepskin to his victims”.

Ndlovu sentenced Taki to 13 life sentences — one for each of the women he killed — plus a further 208 years, made up of 16 years for the armed robbery of each woman.

The judge commended the investigating team’s excellent work, and praised the cellphone experts who gave evidence.

The sentence was welcomed with jubilation in the public gallery. Family members of the victims cried, sang and danced.

Prosecutor Noxolo Tokwana was praised for her work.

‘Danger to society’
Taki was found guilty on December 23, but his co-accused and former girlfriend, Hlengiwe Nene, was acquitted on all charges.

Taki killed 13 women and dumped their bodies in sugar-cane plantations at Umzinto, KwaZulu-Natal, and tea plantations at Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape.

“If the accused was not apprehended in 2007 he was going to continue with his killing spree,” the judge said on Wednesday. “He is a danger to society, he cannot be rehabilitated. His permanent incarceration will prevent him from committing crimes.”

Ndlovu said the sentencing would bring some consolation to family and friends who would never see their loved ones again.

He said Taki managed to persuade women in a shrewd way. “He lured 11 women to Umzinto and two in Port St Johns and killed them by strangulation.”

He said according to testimony all the bodies were in a bad state of decomposition and it was difficult to determine the cause of death.

Taki was on Wednesday refused leave to appeal. — Sapa