Investigators honoured for cracking muthi case

W/Off Mervyn Moonsamy, Maj Genl Nxamagele, Sgt Blessing Ngcobo, Cst Erasmus Mbutho and Cpt Leven Chetty (station commander Umzinto).

ON TUESDAY, March 27, police members from different units and stations within the Ugu Cluster received commendation certificates for outstanding work done. Some received certificates from the Minister of Police while others received certificates from the National Commissioner of Police. The certificates were handed over by the Cluster Commander, Major General Sethenya Nxamagele.

She expressed her pride in and her gratitude to the SAPS members and thanked them for working long hours and often under difficult and dangerous circumstances to ensure that lives were saved and criminals put behind bars.

Umzinto Police Station’s very own W/Off M Moonsamy, Sgt B Ngcobo and Cst TE Mbutho were honoured for their hard work in cracking a murder, robbery, kidnapping and assault case which shocked the community in 2015. On October 31, 2015, at about 8am, Mr Nawaaz Khan left his home in Gandhinagar, Umzinto, and was never seen again.

His family reported him missing on November 6. All attempts by police to trace him on his cell ‘phone proved to be fruitless as the ‘phone was switched off. W/Off Moonsamy was instructed to investigate the disappearance and he used informers to try and get information.

A week later, information was received that Mr Khan was last seen with his friend, Thando Duma, on October 31, 2015.

A search for Duma began and he was traced to Gandhinagar Township on the same day. At first he denied any knowledge of Khan’s whereabouts. After being questioned at length it was established that he had been with Mr Khan and a certain Maakaplan Mchunu, in a forest, where an argument had ensued.

Duma told the police that he had run away during the argument. The SAPS members accompanied Duma to a forest and a search for a possible body began at 5.30 pm. At 10.15 pm Mr Khan’s decomposed remains were found, however the head was missing.

The police continued to interrogate Duma and at 5 am the next morning, he provided information as to the whereabouts of the head of the deceased.

Two days later, and after many long hours of interviews and investigations, Maakaplan Mchunu was also arrested in Msholozi settlement in Umzinto by W/Off Moonsamy, Sgt Ngcobo and Cst Mbutho.

Mchunu made a confession and pointed out where the head had been buried in a sugar cane field. Further investigations led the police to a third suspect who later turned state witness. The body and head of yet another victim, Bawinile Gambushe, were recovered.

Police were told that the heads were to be used as muthi. The suspects were charged and the trial began in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on March 6, 2017, and was concluded on March 27, 2017.

Thorough investigation, professionalism and dedication by the investigating officers, all led to the suspects being identified and arrested.

The stiff sentences of life imprisonment plus a further 35 years imprisonment for all three accused on charges of murder, kidnapping, theft and assault, are testimony of the members’ dedication to the investigation.

  AUTHOR
South African Police Service

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