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Jail genital hacker, says mom

Durban - Ignoring threats on her own life, a Groutville woman took the stand in court to testify against the man convicted of murdering her son and hacking off his genitals.
Durban High Court Judge Jacqui Henriques on Thursday found KwaDukuza drug dealer Bonginkosi Richard Mkhize, 37, guilty of kidnapping and murdering Lucky Thobani Hlophe, 21, and removing his genitals on January 9 last year. His co-accused, Sandile Sabelo Mdakane, 28, was acquitted.
Hlophe’s genitals were discovered by children on January 12, but his decomposing body was only found on January 21, a few kilometres away.
Thembani Ntsoyana, Hlophe’s mother, had already reported him missing when she heard about human genitals being discovered, but it never dawned on her that they could be those of her missing son.
Her husband, Sipho Khumalo, sat next to her in court as Henriques began reading her judgment and regularly comforted her, rubbing her back.
Skhumbuzo Khumalo, who was at the scene when Hlophe was killed and had since turned state witness, had testified that Mkhize blamed Hlophe for telling the police about his drug business and accused him of being a police spy.
He had told the court that Mkhize stabbed Hlophe several times.
Mdakane had handed himself to the police about a week after Hlophe’s body was found.
Henriques convicted Mkhize, saying his version that the police had framed him did not make sense.
“It is not clear what the police stood to gain from framing him. His version, that he was never at the scene of the crime, does not make sense when more than one witness testified that he fatally stabbed Hlophe and removed his genitals, and the state had proved this version beyond a reasonable doubt,” she said.
Mdakane was acquitted of murder and kidnapping on the basis that he feared Mkhize and had acted on his instructions.
Henriques said there was consistency in Mdakane’s evidence, which was corroborated by other state witnesses that Mkhize was a feared drug dealer in KwaDukuza. 
“This evidence was also confirmed by the police who testified in court,” she said.
Henriques made an order that the third person who was present at the scene, Skhumbuzo Khumalo, who had turned state witness, should be brought to court and be prosecuted for the role he played in the murder.
“I cannot accept his evidence. He limited his evidence and tried to minimise his role. He therefore cannot go free,” she said.
A warrant of arrest for Khumalo was issued.
Ntsoyana was still distraught at the loss of her son and wept throughout court proceedings this week. Her emotions ran even higher on Thursday as she testified in aggravation of sentence.
She told the court of threats she had received from Mkhize since his arrest. He had called her from jail, telling her not to follow up on the case and not to come to court. Mkhize had threatened to rape and kill her, and to kill her family if she did not comply.
“My children and family are concerned about what would happen should he get released from jail. Nothing would make me and my family feel safe other than knowing that my son’s killer is rotting in jail,” she said.
Outside the court, the distraught mother told the Daily News she was happy with the court’s decision, although she was disappointed that Mdakane had been acquitted. “He was there when my son was killed, but he did nothing to save him. Instead he played a part (in the murder).
"I know that Mkhize is feared in the community and that he might have acted in fear for his own life, but it is no excuse,” said Ntsoyana.
She said she had not had a peaceful night’s sleep since her son’s death.“I keep seeing his body and think about the pain he must have felt when they stabbed him. I think about whether he was still alive when they removed his genitals,” she said through tears.

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