Thozamile Taki (born 1971) also known as the Sugarcane
Killer is a South African serial killer who killed 13 women aged
18–25, dumping their bodies in agricultural plantations. On 19 January
2011, Taki was sentenced to 13 life sentences for the murders and an
additional 208 years, 16 years for each of his victims of armed
Taki murdered 10 victims in the sugarcane plantations
around the town of Umzinto, as well as a further three victims in the
tea plantations near Port St Johns, KwaZulu Natal. Body parts of some
of his victims are alleged to have been provided to a local
traditional healer or sangoma.
Taki was remanded at Westville Prison during his trial. On 21
February 2010, Taki, along with eight other prisoners attempted to
escape from the prison. Taki fell from the roof of his fourth floor
cell, seriously injuring himself while his accomplices successfully
escaped. His trial was adjourned pending his recovery.
On March 2, 2010, Taki, now using a wheelchair, entered court
requesting that his girlfriend be given bail. Judge King Ndlovu
postponed the trial until April 30, 2010, where the remaining eight of
the state's 103 witness were to testify. On December 23, 2010, Taki
was convicted on all charges.
Jubilation as sugar-cane serial killer sentenced
Mail & Guardian Online
January 19, 2011
killer Thozamile Taki had been a jackal in a sheepskin in the way he
lured and killed 13 women, a Durban High Court judge said on Wednesday.
"I watched the accused
during the trial, he was callous and insensitive. He smiled when
witnesses gave evidence and were in tears," said Judge King Ndlovu.
He said Taki was a real
"jackal in a sheepskin to his victims".
Ndlovu sentenced Taki to
13 life sentences -- one for each of the women he killed -- plus a
further 208 years, made up of 16 years for the armed robbery of each
The judge commended the
investigating team's excellent work, and praised the cellphone experts
who gave evidence.
The sentence was
welcomed with jubilation in the public gallery. Family members of the
victims cried, sang and danced.
Tokwana was praised for her work.
Taki was found guilty on
December 23, but his co-accused and former girlfriend, Hlengiwe Nene,
was acquitted on all charges.
Taki killed 13 women and
dumped their bodies in sugar-cane plantations at Umzinto, KwaZulu-Natal,
and tea plantations at Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape
"If the accused was not
apprehended in 2007 he was going to continue with his killing spree,"
the judge said on Wednesday. "He is a danger to society, he cannot be
rehabilitated. His permanent incarceration will prevent him from
Ndlovu said the
sentencing would bring some consolation to family and friends who
would never see their loved ones again.
He said Taki managed to
persuade women in a shrewd way. "He lured 11 women to Umzinto and two
in Port St Johns and killed them by strangulation."
He said according to
testimony all the bodies were in a bad state of decomposition and it
was difficult to determine the cause of death.
Taki was on Wednesday
refused leave to appeal. -- Sapa
Sugar-cane serial killer found guilty
Mail & Guardian Online
December 23, 2010
Judge King Ndlovu found
Thozamile Taki guilty on all 26 charges relating to killing 13 women.
Their bodies were found
in the sugar-cane plantations in Umzinto and Port St Johns in 2007.
During his trial, Taki
was one of eight prisoners who tried to escape from Westville prison
in March. He fell through a fourth floor ceiling during the escape bid
and had to be hospitalised.
"The person who lured
the woman, promised them jobs but killed them and dumped their bodies
in sugarcane fields, was none other than Thozamile Taki. The state has
proven their case beyond reasonable doubt on all 26 counts," said
Hlengiwe Nene was found not guilty and asked to step down from the
The judge said Nene was
a victim of circumstance. "Accused number two [Nene] found herself in
this trouble for not cooperating with police. Had she done so she
would not be in this mess," said Ndlovu.
During the investigation
police conducted a search of Nene's home in September 2007.
"A cellphone was found.
Accused number two claimed it was hers but it was of Charity Khumalo [deceased].
She said she bought it at Jet stores and could not find the papers of
the purchase as proof," said Ndlovu.
The judge said all
witnesses were credible, unbiased, reliable and honest.
"Accused number one's
evidence was unsubstantial, his story was highly improbable."
Ndlovu said that in both
identity parades conducted in Hibberdene and Brighton Beach all
witnesses pointed out Taki without hesitation.
"That could not be a
He said the issue of
cellphone evidence demonstrated that the cellphones of the deceased
were used by Taki.
Ndlovu said the way the
evidence was presented showed that the killings were the work of a
"All deceased were young
and had ambitions to get jobs or were already working and wanted to
get better jobs.
"When they left their
homes they told their families that they had met a man who would get
them jobs in factories or companies."
He said the pattern was
similar, with their bodies being dumped in sugarcane fields and their
personal items taken from them.
"This modus operandi
proved that it was the same person operating like a serial killer. We
are satisfied with the evidence," said Ndlovu.
IsiXhosa was the
Ndlovu said it seemed a
trend that Taki lured IsiXhosa-speaking women even though some of the
women were IsiZulu-speaking.
Thobile Jama, related to
Khanyisile Ncayana who was last seen alive in May 2008, said she
wanted Nene to be found guilty as well.
"We are happy about the
judgment. We could not sleep at night not knowing what happened to her,"
Bongi Mgobozi, whose
sister Makhosi was murdered by Taki and was last seen alive in May
2007, said she was relieved that her family now knew what had happened
to Makhosi and who killed her.
"It is sad that a woman
was involved in the killing of my sister. I felt bad seeing Hlengiwe's
[accused number 2] children crying. My sister Makhosi also left a
child that is nine years now," said Mgobozi.
"I want to see Thozamile
die in jail. I don't want to see him out - he is not good for the
community. I don't have any grudge against Hlengiwe. She did not spill
any blood," said Mgobozi.
threatened to hit a photographer taking pictures of him during
proceedings in the Durban High Court.
"I will hit this boy if
he continues taking pictures of me, he is disturbing me. In Ramsgate
he was doing the same thing," said Taki.
Judge King Ndlovu, who
was busy delivering judgment at the time, told Taki he should not look
at the photographer.
Taki is accused of
robbing and killing 13 women and dumping their bodies in sugarcane
plantations at Umzinto, KwaZulu-Natal, and in tea plantations at Port
St Johns in the Eastern Cape.
Taki and his co-accused,
former girlfriend Hlengiwe Nene, have been in custody since 2007.
The court has been told
Taki approached the women and promised them jobs at various companies.
He would allegedly ask
them for money to pay their rent at their new jobs, or would ask them
to bring money for a bribe to secure the employment.
Trials within a
The amount he asked for
ranged from R300 to R3 000.
Nene was alleged to be
his abettor in the crimes.
During the trial there
were two trials within a trial, conducted after the defence challenged
evidence including a list allegedly compiled by Taki of all the women
he had killed.
The second trial within
a trial was when the defence denied that Taki had taken investigating
officers to the scene of the crimes.
Ndlovu said in his
judgment that Taki had testified that investigators had supplied a
list of women and asked Taki to rewrite the list on another piece of
paper in his handwriting.
"Accused number one [Taki]
told the court that Inspector Nkabinde was reading the names to him.
That was not necessary if the names were in front of him," Ndlovu said
"The misspelling was so
glaring of certain names, but he claims the list was in front of him,"
said the judge.
He said Taki's testimony
in the trial within a trial showed that he was lying.
Ndlovu said that in
respect of the second trial within a trial, he was satisfied with the
evidence of a police officer who took Taki to the crime scenes for
"There were lots of
officers that were with accused number one. I was satisfied with their
evidence and their stories corroborated.
"They all denied
assaulting accused number one. None of them were shaken while giving
Ndlovu said Taki's
evidence had been evasive and untrue, and Taki had also contradicted
himself. -- Sa