JOHANNESBURG: A South African traditional healer has been sentenced to life for motivating the brutal beheading of an Indian-origin woman by promising four youths over USD 150,000.
Sibonakaliso Mbili had promised one of the four co-accused, Falakhe Khumalo, to pay 2 million Rand (USD 153,000) for bringing head of an Indian or a white or a coloured woman, to be used in illegal witchcraft purposes, officials said.
Khumalo, with the help of three other youths – Jimmy Stanley Thelejala, Mlungisi Ndlovu and Mbali Magwala – lured Indian-origin Desiree Murugan to a sports field in the sprawling Indian township of Chatsworth near Durban in 2014.
The four had killed and decapitated Murugan after stabbing her 192 times.
Khumalo, who earlier confessed to the murder, is serving a life sentence for killing the woman.
Thelejala and Ndlovu were awarded a 15-year prison sentence while Magwala will serve 12 years behind the bars.
Magwala got a lighter sentence because he only selected Murugan as the victim but did not participate in the actual stabbing.
Welcoming the sentence, the community members said that it would send a strong message to those who are duped into believing that human body parts can be used as traditional medicines.
Earlier, the Traditional Healers Association of South Africa had also condemned the practise as one by rogue elements, in especially rural areas of the country, that was giving a bad name to genuine traditional healers.