Updated 15 September 2014

Durban prostitute decapitated for traditional medicine

Three minors from Durban are expected to plead not guilty to participating in the killing and decapitation of a prostitute whose head was intended for use by a traditional healer.


Three minors, who were expected to plead guilty to their role in killing and decapitating a prostitute, informed the Durban Regional Court on Monday that they intended pleading not guilty.

Headless body

Prosecutor Kuveshni Pillay said: "It seems circumstances have changed. The three accused have elected to plead not guilty."

The court heard that the three would also seek bail.

Magistrate Anand Maharaj postponed the case to next Monday for a formal bail application by the minors, who may not be named, and their co-accused Sivonkaliso Mbili, 32, and Vusumuzi Gumede, 30.

The five are accused of killing Desiree Murugan, 39, whose headless body was found by municipal workers at Shallcross Stadium, in Durban, on August 18.

The minors' plea about-turn follows the guilty plea, conviction and life imprisonment of a sixth accused, Falakhe Khumalo, 18, on Thursday.

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Head given to traditional healer

In an explanation of plea, Khumalo claimed he was promised R2 million in June 2013 for the head of a white, Indian or coloured woman by Mbili, a traditional healer he consulted for treatment of a sexually transmitted disease.

He recovered and went back to Mbili, whom he calls Makhosi, in December for "muti" to prevent the police from tracing him and his accomplices.

On the night of August 17, Khumalo said he and his three co-accused lured Murugan, 39, to the Shallcross Stadium in Chatsworth, Durban, where he paid her R100 for sex and oral sex.

"Whilst having sex, accused number one came behind me with an okapi knife and she saw him. I then placed my hand over her mouth so that she cannot make a noise. And I held her tight so that she does not move," Khumalo said. At least 195 stab wounds were found on Murugan's body.

Khumalo said he took her head to Mbili, who lived on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast. When they entered Mbili's consulting room, he came out with a bush knife, a shovel and two tins.

"He said I should cut off the deceased's eyelashes and I did. And then Makhosi [Mbili] dissected the head with the bush knife and took out the brain and the tongue and placed it in the two tins."

The tins were buried behind Mbili's house.

Khumalo was arrested before he could return to collect his money.

Read more:

Triumph for traditional healers
Scientists test traditional healer's 'cure' for HIV/AIDS
Health dept warns against traditional healers' treatment for birthmarks

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