Six found guilty in 'witch' trial

Six men - who killed an elderly woman they believed to be a witch - were convicted of murder by the Mthatha High Court on Thursday.

Zolani Siwundla, Zuko Matshoba, Mlungisi Mpumela, Nceba Ntleko, Andile Matshobo and Lundi Nkalane pleaded not guilty to the murder of 65 year-old Hlanjiwe Qamza on January 23, 1999.

Mphitha Mzameleni Ndibi pleaded guilty at the start of the trial last year and is currently serving an 18-year jail term.

Two other accused, Sebenzile Mbo and Wandisile Nkalane, died of natural causes before the trial could be finalised.

The court heard that the accused, together with other people, attended a funeral service in Ludeke in the Eastern Pondoland in Transkei of a member of the community.

Ndibi indicated to other people that Qamza, who was also at the funeral, was a witch and he suggested that she should be killed.

Ndibi, together with a group of people, went to her house. They set it on fire, but Qamza managed to escape to her sister's house, where the mob caught up with her.

She was assaulted, shot and her body was set alight.

Sentence will be passed on February 21