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Thozamile TAKI






A.K.A.: "The Sugarcane Killer"
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Robberies
Number of victims: 13
Date of murder: 2007
Date of arrest: September 24, 2007
Date of birth: 1971
Victim profile: Makhosi Mgobhozi of Efolweni / Noxolo Mpande of Bhizana / Nosisa Nozozo of Libode / Charity Mthethwa of Tongaat / Rose Mjoli of Bhizana / Khanyisile Ncayiyana of Bhizana / Thandeka Mthebeni of Matatiyela / Nonjabulo Mpanza of Efolweni / Philisiwe Mpanza of Efolweni / Nombali Ngcobo of uMzinyathi / Thandazile Bhokoda of Lusikisiki / Siziwe Tshongaye of Lusikisiki / Cherity Khumalo of KwaMashu (women aged between 1825 years)
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Kwa Zulu Natal/Eastern Cape, South Africa
Status: Sentenced to 13 life sentences for the murders and an additional 208 years (16 years for each of his victims of armed robbery) on January 19, 2011

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Thozamile Taki (born 1971) also known as the Sugarcane Killer is a South African serial killer who killed 13 women aged 1825, 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 robbery.

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

"Sugar-cane" serial 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 woman.

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.

Prosecutor Noxolo Tokwana was praised for her work.

'Danger to society'

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 committing crimes."

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 Ndlovu.

Taki's co-accused Hlengiwe Nene was found not guilty and asked to step down from the dock.

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.

Credible evidence

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 coincidence."

He said the issue of cellphone evidence demonstrated that the cellphones of the deceased were used by Taki.

Productive citizens

Ndlovu said the way the evidence was presented showed that the killings were the work of a serial killer.

"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 trend

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," said Jama.

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.

Photographer threatened

Meanwhile, Taki 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 trial

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 on Thursday.

"The misspelling was so glaring of certain names, but he claims the list was in front of him," said the judge.

Corroborated stories

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 pointing-out.

"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 evidence."

Ndlovu said Taki's evidence had been evasive and untrue, and Taki had also contradicted himself. -- Sa



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