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Slaughterhouse: Underwear, Used Condoms Inside S.ex Workers' Murder Trial

A room in which a sex worker's body was discovered at Sifiso Mkhwanazi's father’s workshop was used as a “slaughterhouse” to kill s....

A room in which a sex worker's body was discovered at Sifiso Mkhwanazi's father’s workshop was used as a “slaughterhouse” to kill s.ex workers between April and October 2022.

This was the conclusion of the police team which investigated the murders of six s.ex workers whose bodies, in varying stages of decomposition, were found in different places at Mark Khumalo’s (Mkhwanazi’s father) workshop.

One of the lead investigators, Det Sgt Prince Bongani Mbonambi, testified on Wednesday in the Johannesburg high court, sitting in Palm Ridge, that comparisons were made on three different bodies that were not found in the room.

“These are different bodies which were not found in this particular room but rather concealed somewhere behind in the building.

“The conclusion that we came up with is that this room was used as a slaughterhouse and later on the bodies would be removed,” he told the court. 

Mbonambi said there was blood on the stairway leading to the room, indicating the bodies were dragged downstairs from the room.

“One could see that somebody tried cleaning the blood, but our experts were able to retrieve that blood. A caretaker once found the stairs wet. That day, the cleaner told him it was Mkhwanazi who had cleaned the stairs. So, we can confirm that three or more bodies were killed in this room,” he said.

Slaughterhouse: Underwear, Used Condoms Inside S.ex Workers' Murder Trial

He told the court that when the cleaner was employed at the workshop, she used to clean the room but stopped after realising it was no longer in use.

During his testimony, the state's first witness, Michael Damian, a caretaker at the workshop, told the court the office which the detective described as a room on the first floor was dark as there was no electricity. He was using the torch on his cellphone to see when he discovered a body on the floor.

Mbonambi testified Mkhwanazi had admitted to killing the women but denied he planned the murders. He said as much as they appreciated that he had made the admissions, shortening the trial, they still believed the murders were premeditated.

“If this was one murder, we would have given the benefit of the doubt. The bodies could have been at the workshop between three to six months. We don't accept Mkhwanazi's claims that he left one of the bodies to be easily found. After killing a person, he concealed the body.

“You need to transport the bodies to the places where they are hidden. Wheelie bins were his mode of transport. Some bodies were (found) inside those bins. He didn't have a mode of transport to move the bodies except wheelie bins,” Mbonambi said.

Mbonambi said the pictures of the scene in a photo album told the best story of what happened.

“His [Mkhwanazi's] explanation of how he killed the deceased is that he strangled them, tied a rope around their neck, and he still maintained it was not planned. When comparing the photo albums to Mkhwanazi’s admissions don't make sense.

The bodies were found with their legs, hands and mouths bound, he testified. “ If you have killed a person by strangulation, why would you go and tie hands to the back, tie her legs? This is a lifeless body. There is no need to tie it up. You've already killed the person,” said Mbonambi.

He said it was possible the accused would tie up the victims in that way to enable him to “rape them not once but repeatedly as they [victims] couldn't run and they couldn't scream”.

“The amount of used condoms we found on the scene, it makes logical sense for what we are saying. Therefore the accused is the one who gave admissions but his admissions are vague. They lack a lot of details. And we don’t believe he's been entirely truthful. - The Times 

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