Grizzly tale of home invasion and gruesome murder of two children

South African Police Service

Grizzly tale of home invasion and gruesome murder of two children
Grizzly tale of home invasion and gruesome murder of two children. Photo: SAPS

The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, has welcomed a hefty sentence meted out by the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court sitting in Middelburg to Themba Josiah Thubane, 41, who was sentenced to two life imprisonment terms and an additional five years effective in prison for murder and other atrocities.

On 28 January 2018, Thubane, alongside with Thokozani Msibi,32, Knowledge Wezi Mhlanga, 25, as well as Mthobisi Brilliant Mkhize, 23, allegedly broke into a house in Vosman near Emalahleni. The suspects then pointed the occupants with an object resembling a firearm and forcefully took 13 year old Gabisile Shabane as well as 15 month old Welcome Nkosikhona Ngwenya. They (suspects) then heartlessly killed Nkosikhona by throwing him in a river stream while he was alive, after realizing that he had no albinism.

The court heard through a guilty plea which was rendered by Thubane and duly accepted by the court that the suspects proceeded to kill Gabisile, heartlessly chopped off certain body parts on the auspices that her body parts will flourish their businesses, and then buried the remains in a shallow grave at Cullinan in Gauteng.

On Monday, 19 August 2019, all the suspects appeared for trial and Thubane pleaded guilty for having taken part in this horrendous deeds. However, Msibi, Mhlanga as well as Mkhize denied the allegations and they were remanded in custody. Their matter was rolled over to 25 May and 12 June 2020 respectively, for trial at the same court.

When handing down judgement, Judge Segopotje Mpahlele said that the accused was not remorseful about the whole incident, he only confessed after he was arrested and the Judge also reminded Thubane that during bail application, he vehemently denied having taken part in the killing of the victims. Therefore the Judge said that after realising the anguish and the horror that Gabisile and Nkosikhona went through when they were killed, she has no compelling reasons to deviate from passing a lesser sentence. The Judge further said that people with albinism are human just like anyone else and therefore must be protected.

She called on traditional healers to lead campaigns which must involve all walks of life, with a solid aim to dispel the myth that the body of people with albinism can bring fortunes to businesses. Judge Mphahlele further indicated that she can just only imagine the trauma and pain the family was subjected to by the gruesome death of their two children. The court also heard testimony from her teacher who told the court that Gabilsile excelled in her studies and won several awards as the best student.

The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, indicated that this was one of the most difficult cases police had to face. However, the astute investigators worked tirelessly and cracked it hence the arrests and sentencing. He mentioned that the community should not emulate the acts of the suspects who had a belief that killing a person with albinism can bring them fortunes. General Zuma dispelled that myth and said the acts of the villains was influenced by pure greed and gross criminality coupled with violation of the Constitutional Rights of others.

General Zuma is however elated by the collective work done by the investigating team, the National Prosecution Authority the Judiciary as well as witnesses and Forensics which led to this notable conviction. He further said that criminals cannot be left roaming around the streets freely while law abiding citizens live in fear. “ The long sentence passed against Thobane to languish in prison for a very long time, will surely and most definitely serve as a deterrent to other people who often go on rampage mercilessly killing people,” concluded General Zuma.

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SOURCESouth African Police Service