A man from Lupane who killed his workmate and hid the body in a bush near Matopos National Park where it was devoured by hyenas, was yesterday sentenced to 10 years in jail.
Postmortem results show that the heart, tongue, trachea, mouth, generative organs, kidneys, liver, bladder, intestines and other stomach contents were missing. Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo convicted Godfrey Mlalazi (41) of Sishane Village 4 of a lesser charge of culpable homicide for killing Mr Thabani Ncube (41) in December 2014. Mlalazi allegedly struck Ncube with a knobkerrie on the head and the decomposed body was discovered a week later by a search party comprising villagers and police.
Mlalazi will serve an effective seven years in jail after three years of the sentence were suspended for five years on condition that he does not within that period commit a similar offence. In passing sentence, Justice Moyo condemned acts of violence, saying the courts frowned upon such conduct. “You struck the deceased with a knobkerrie at the back of the head which is a vulnerable part of the body. This court has time and again lamented loss of life through violence. It’s abominable for people to butcher each other after partaking alcohol,” said the judge. Justice Moyo said the courts had a duty to uphold the sanctity of life through passing deterrent sentences on offenders.
“Society should be reminded that life is sacred and the courts frown upon such conduct. This is one case where a life was unnecessarily lost for the flimsiest of excuses,” ruled the judge. Prosecuting, Mr Thompson Hove said on December 8, 2014 at about 11PM, Mr Ncube, Mlalazi, Nkosiyazi Ngwenya and Knowledge Mathwasa were coming from a beer drink at Wild East Farm in Kezi. He said when the quartet reached Plot Number 19, Ngwenya and Mathwasa parted ways with Mlalazi and Mr Ncube
A few minutes later, Mr Ncube and Mlalazi started quarrelling. Mlalazi allegedly accused the deceased of reporting him to the police for assaulting Mathwasa the previous day.
The quarrel degenerated into a scuffle and the noise attracted Ngwenya and Mathwasa who returned to the scene and found the two men fighting. Mr Ncube, who appeared to be on the receiving end, tried to flee but Mlalazi caught up with him and struck him on the back of his head with a knobkerrie. Mr Ncube allegedly collapsed after running a short distance. “Mlalazi fled the scene together with Ngwenya and Mathwasa and left Ncube lying unconscious on the ground where he later died,” said Mr Hove.
Mr Ncube’s remains were discovered on December 16 by villagers and police. The remains were in a state of decomposition and some body parts were missing after they were eaten by hyenas. One of the witnesses, Mr Themba Dube, who was Mr Ncube’s neighbour, said he last saw him while he was with Mlalazi, Ngwenya and Mathwasa drinking beer at Wild East Farm. The investigating officer, Chelaude Kimu, said when they arrived at the scene, they found the remains strewn in a bushy area about 50 metres from the road. He said the remains were partly eaten by wild animals as evidenced by tracks of hyenas.
One of Ncube’s relatives, who was also part of the search team, positively identified the deceased by his clothes. Mlalazi, Ngwenya and Mathwasa led police to the scene for indications where a knobkerrie allegedly used in the commission of the crime was found. Mlalazi through his lawyer, Mr Sifelani Mlambo, admitted that he assaulted Mr Ncube following a dispute, but denied that he caused his death. He pleaded for leniency, saying he was a sole breadwinner taking care of his two minor children.