Mxolisi Mngadi
1 minute read
4 Oct 2013
6:00 am

Murder accused’s lawyers say their rights were violated

Mxolisi Mngadi

The fate of two people accused of burning to death eight members of a family they suspected of practising witchcraft in Tshelimnyama, Mariannhill, is now in the hands of the Durban High Court.

Image courtesy Dylan McMullin/

Thembinkosi Ngubane, 23, and his aunt, Thandazile Ireen Ngubane, 42, have both pleaded not guilty to eight counts of murder and one count of arson. They are accused of setting alight the home of their neighbours, the Mabhidas, on December 13, 2010, leading to their deaths.

Acting Judge Rod Callum yesterday adjourned their matter to October 10, when, he said, he would deliver his judgment.

The defence closed its case on Wednesday. The Ngubanes’ lawyers argued that their clients’ constitutional rights were violated during the pointing out of the crime scene to police. They submitted that both the accused were assaulted and forced to confess.

Mbongeleni Mchunu, for Thembinkosi, and Andile Nohiya, for Thandazile, submitted that the investigating team in the case should have taken their clients to “an independent magistrate who did not have an interest in the case”, if their clients were adamant about confessing.

Mchunu and Nohiya argued that both the accused were tortured on several occasions at the Cato Manor police station in order to confess to the murders of their neighbours.

Coshela Mabhida, his wife Angelina and their children Cindy, Njabulo, Sphesihle, Owami, Andiswe, who was an infant, and Cindy’s boyfriend Xolani Ngcobo died an horrific death that night.

Warrant Officer Themba Richard Ngcobo had testified that Thembinkosi sustained minor injuries when he tried to resist arrest on December 15, 2010.

Both accused will remain in custody until judgment next week.