Bewitching allegations turn deadly: KZN man sentenced to life for family murders

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Written By Maya Cantina

Elias Mkhize’s sinister belief led to a brutal end for his family, earning him two life terms.

A KwaZulu-Natal man, 54, who pleaded guilty to the murder of his biological mother and sister after suspecting they were bewitching him, was sentenced to two life terms and 10 years imprisonment.

Elias Delisani Mkhize was sentenced on Wednesday by the Pietermaritzburg High Court for a tragic incident that happened in December 2023 in the Mid-Illovo area.

According to National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara, Mkhize also pleaded guilty to the possession of an unlicensed firearm.

Mkhize suspected mother and sister of bewitching him

Ramkisson-Kara said that prior to the fatal incident, he suspected his mother, Mathithi Mkhize, and his sister, Celiwe Mkhize, who lived in the same area as him, of bewitching him, and he decided to kill them.

“On 20 December 2023, he armed himself with his unlicensed firearm and proceeded to their home, which was a short distance away. He shot them both and then used a bush knife to decapitate them. He disposed of their heads in a nearby pit toilet,” Ramkisson-Kara said.

Mkhize was subsequently arrested a few hours later.

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The NPA said that in aggravation of sentence, Prosecutor Melumzi Gula submitted a victim impact statement compiled by Mkhize and Celiwe’s bother and facilitated by the Court Preparation Manager, Xolile Mzobe.

Brutal killings

“In his statement, the man said that his life changed on the day he received the call to say that his mother and sister were dead. He said that he could not understand why his brother would kill his family members in such a brutal way,” Ramkisson-Kara said.

“He added that the images he saw following the murders will remain with him for a long time.”

Mkhize received life sentences for each murder and 10 years in prison for illegal firearm possession. The court further ordered that the sentences run concurrently, resulting in an effective sentence of life imprisonment. He was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.

The NPA welcomed the finalisation of the case.

“It is our mandate to prosecute and get justice for all. We hope that this sentence will deter like-minded individuals, and we commend the work done by the prosecution and SAPS,” Ramkisson-Kara said.

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