Girl’s muti-killer to rot in jail
A greedy muti-killer has received his just rewards, and will spend the rest of his life in jail.
Bizana sangoma Olwethu Mbalwa, a 32-year-old father of seven, murdered and dismembered Sinoyolo Mgaga, 17, for the sole purpose of enriching himself.
On Thursday, Mthatha high court judge Buyiswa Majiki, sitting in Mbizana, added 10 years for robbery and four years for housebreaking.
The sentences will not run concurrently.
Mbalwa looked relaxed as he was sentenced, but avoided contact with the crammed public gallery where Sinoyolo's grieving mother, Nomthunzi Mgaga, sat in the second row, with tears rolling down her cheeks.
The judge said there was a prevalence of muti-killings in the Mbizana region.
“I do not comprehend the lunacy and recklessness of people being murdered for body parts by people who do not have regard of human life.
“This murder is heinous and cruel,” said Majiki.
She said there were no substantial circumstances to deviate from the prescribed life sentence.
On October 14 2017, the mutilated body of Grade 10 AB Tshayingca pupil Sinoyolo Mgaga was discovered in a pool of blood in KwaNikhwe village in Mbizana with her head, vagina and abdominal flesh removed and missing.
Her hands were tied together with a rope.
Mbalwa was arrested on October 27 2017, and remained in custody.
Majiki said: “A young, defenceless woman was brutally killed in the comfort of her home.
“When she put up a defence, her head was chopped off mercilessly,” said the judge.
Majiki said the accused was not remorseful, had not taken the court into his confidence and had deprived the court of the reasons for committing the heinous crime.
The judge said the crime had disturbed the tranquillity of the small town of Mbizana. Outraged members of the community had protested over what they perceived as a failure of justice, after police failed to arrest the suspect.
Two people held earlier for questioning were released.
“He was among the community members who protested, but all along knew that he was the suspect,” said the judge.
After the sentencing, Sinoyolo’s sobbing mother hugged Hawks investigating officer Sergeant Tandokazi Jojo-Gwazela, thanking her and her team for ensuring Mbalwa’s conviction and sentence.
“Thank you my child, thank you officer,” she said.
“I am happy that this day has come and this monster will rot in jail.
“I nearly buried the body of my daughter without her head but you worked around the clock and managed to recover it in time for the burial.”
Comforting her, an emotional Jojo-Gwazela said: “As police officers we are here for you mama.
‘This is supposed to be a happy ending although your daughter will not come back.”
Speaking to the Daily Dispatch, Mgaga, a mother of five, said she had attended court for two years to find out what had happened to her daughter.
There were still many questions that had not been answered.
“The case has been long and winding and it opened wounds, but I am happy it is now over and very happy with the sentence although it will not bring back Sinoyolo,” Mgaga said.
National Prosecution Authority Eastern Cape spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said muti-murders would be dealt with by the justice system in the harshest terms.
Since 2011, the Dispatch has reported on five muti-killings and cannibalism in Mbizana, Flagstaff, Qumbu, Port St Johns and KwaBhaca.