Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
ONE of the ritual murder suspects who allegedly sawed his victim in half, stole US$400 from her handbag and used some of the money to buy a drum and hydrochloric acid to dispose of the body has been ordered to undergo a mental examination.
Tawana Ngwenya (21) of Matsheumhlope suburb in Bulawayo was watching a movie with Thabelo Mazolo (25) when he allegedly struck her three times in the head with an iron bar.
When he realised that she was still alive, he slit her throat with a knife.
Ngwenya then recruited a 17-year-old boy to help him conceal the crime and provide the hacksaw which he used to cut his victim.
Part of Mazolo’s body, from the waist going down, is still missing while breasts and palms appeared to have been sliced off.
Ngwenya, the son of a caretaker where Mazolo lived and his teenage accomplice from Fortunes Gate Village, appeared before Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Evangelista Kabasa facing charges of murder.
The judge ordered Ngwenya to be examined by two doctors to ascertain his mental health condition in terms of the Mental Health Act following a recommendation by his lawyers.
He was remanded in the custody of his uncle and he is supposed to report once a week at Nkulumane Police Station as part of bail conditions.
Prosecuting, Mr Blessing Gundani said on the evening of May 29 last year, Ngwenya and Mazolo were watching television together in the lounge when the accused stood up and left the room.
The court heard that Ngwenya later returned carrying a metal pipe, which he used to strike Mazolo on the head before cutting her throat using a knife. Ngwenya went to the deceased’s bedroom and stole US$400 which was in her handbag.
The following day, Ngwenya approached his accomplice who accompanied him to the shops to buy a plastic drum and hydrochloric acid. They cut the drum and poured the acid before putting the body in the container.
Ngwenya took some of Mazolo’s clothes and proceeded to Harare. On June 10, Ngwenya’s father, Mr Buzwani Ngwenya, who is employed as a gardener at the house, detected a foul smell emanating from one of the rooms.
He found the body inside a 200-litre drum of acid and it was in an advanced state of decomposition.
The body had the right breast, right arm and the lower torso missing.
“When police attended the scene, they observed that there was a grey bag which had blood-stained clothes,” said Mr Gundani.
Upon conducting interviews at the scene, police established that Ngwenya who used to stay with the deceased had disappeared soon after Mazolo was reported missing.
“Information was gathered that Ngwenya had gone to Harare where his mother stays. Police detectives in Bulawayo contacted their counterparts in Harare leading to Ngwenya’s arrest on June 11,” said Mr Gundani.
Ngwenya confessed to having killed Mazolo.
Investigations led to the recovery of two cellphones, a belt, three handbags, a purse, one pair of canvas shoes, five jackets, two jerseys, one sweater, one bra and a t-shirt all belonging to the deceased.
The body was taken to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) where post mortem results revealed that the cause of death was brain damage, depressed skull fracture and assault.
On June 12, Ngwenya was brought to the CID Homicide in Bulawayo where further investigations led to the arrest of his accomplice after he implicated him.
Ngwenya revealed that he was assisted by the teenager to buy the drum and 25kg of hydrochloric acid which he used to dispose of the body.
He was taken to the scene for indications where a silver iron rod, which he allegedly used to strike Mazolo on the head three times before slitting her throat was recovered.
In his defence through his lawyers, Makiya and Partners, Ngwenya said he does not recall slitting the deceased’s throat on that particular day.
He said he only saw blood gushing out of her neck.
“I am very sorry for my actions and I don’t even know how I ended up doing what I did,” said Ngwenya.
Through his lawyers Ncube-Tshabalala Attorneys, he is denying the charges, arguing that he did not know what transpired as he was not at the crime scene.–@mashnets