Who would want to kill this woman?

Everson Luhanga

The story of the murder of this young woman starts with a dream that came true – but in a far more terrible way than she ever imagined

Two days before Zinhle Kweza was murdered in 2017, she dreamed she was in a beautiful white dress getting married. 

When Zinhle told her friend Patricia about the dream the next day, Patricia thought it was a bad sign.

Patricia warned Zinhle the dream could mean that she was going to die.

Patricia recalls that Zinhle responded jokingly: “If I die, Thembinkosi will be the one to kill me,” referring to her long-time boyfriend.

Zinhle Kweza and Thembinkosi Mhlongo

Days later Zinhle’s body was found dumped in Ivory Park, strangled and with multiple stab wounds.

Three years later, a 15-month trial has just finished at the Johannesburg High Court.

Thembinkosi Mhlongo, an Eskom adviser, has been convicted of murder. 

But if the dream was simple, the case in real life was not. 

A key witness has been a sangoma from Newcastle, iNyanga Ngcamphalala. 

This sangoma came to court and testified that Thembinkosi – his patient – told him about his plan to murder Zinhle BEFORE she was killed.

The sangoma said Mhlongo “told me that his aunt …..[said] the deceased [Zinhle] is bewitching him”.

There was lots of evidence that Mhlongo tried to kill Zinhle with the help of muti. 

The key to the case was the State’s main witness Xolani Magangane, a security guard hired by Mhlongo who put him at the scene of the crime. 

Magangane gave graphic evidence and there were no other eyewitnesses to the killing.

He said:

  • Mhlongo forced him to try kill Zinhle Kweza several times
  • The murder attempts included using a sangoma’s burning hyena tail to make her sleep. This didn’t work – Zinhle smelt it burning
  • Mhlongo bought mamba snake muti to poison Zinhle, but never used it. He also bought special sangoma sleeping pills, which were also never used
  • Instead, Mhlongo hatched the plan to simply fetch Zinhle from work and strangle her while Magangane drove

We will report on sentencing as soon as the Judge rules later on Friday. 

Mhlongo tried to persuade the court he was not at the scene of the crime. 

But Judge Makume said of Mhlongo: “I do not believe him and reject his evidence as false beyond doubt”.