court hammer
A South African traditional healer was given life sentence for making four men behead an Indian woman in exchange for money in 2014 - File photoGun Aficionados

Sibonakaliso Mbili, a traditional healer in South Africa, was recently given a life sentence for making four men behead an Indian woman in exchange for money. He reportedly wanted to use the decapitated head in illegal witchcraft rituals.

The four men who had stabbed the woman, Desiree Murugan, 192 times before chopping off her head are already serving their respective sentences in the country, the Press Trust of India reported.

The crime was committed in 2014 after Mbili asked the four men to bring a woman's head, preferably an Indian or a white or a coloured woman. He offered Falakhe Khumalo, one of the four co-accused, 2m South African rand (£111,023, $145,050) in exchange for the head.

Following Mbili's instructions, Khumalo and his three accomplices — Jimmy Stanley Thelejala, Mlungisi Ndlovu and Mbali Magwala — chose to kill Indian-born Murugan. They reportedly lured her to a sports field in the Indian township of Chatsworth near Durban and killed her.

Following arrest, Khumalo had confessed to the crime and is currently serving a life sentence. Thelejala and Ndlovu are each serving a 15-year prison sentence for participating in the murder, while Magwala received 12 years of jail. The latter only took part in the plot but did not kill the woman, the news agency wrote.

The Traditional Healers Association of South Africa had condemned the case and the beheading of the woman for illegal witchcraft practices. They said that many such rogue elements, especially in rural areas of the country, were giving a bad name to real traditional healers.

Meanwhile, the Indian community in South Africa welcomed the judgement, saying it would send out a strong message to the people who are fooled by such criminals posing as traditional healers.