The Ingwavuma Regional Court has sentenced a 34-year-old woman to an effective 20 years imprisonment following her conviction for attempting to traffick a child in the Manguzi area.

In June 2016, the woman approached James Mthembu, who is a traditional healer. She told him that she could arrange an 11-year-old albino child from her neighborhood for him to use for traditional medicine. She said that she wanted R100 000 in return and advised that he contact her should he want to see the child.

Mthembu then reported this to the police, asking them to accompany him. The police thought this information might assist them with a missing child case they were working on at the time.

Mthembu arranged to meet the woman and she was arrested.

In court, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Adv. Cyril Selepe led Mthembu’s evidence as well as that of the child’s mother and the police officers. Selepe also submitted a Victim Impact Statement compiled by the child’s mother and facililated by Court Preparation Officer Mandisa Sikakane.

In her statement the woman said that she has lived in fear ever since the offence. Her son was also fearful. The woman said that following the incident she kept her child by her side, not allowing him to leave the yard.

She also said that she considers her child to be a gift and she loves him very much, however she cannot forget how difficult it was to protect him, knowing that there were people who wanted to harm him. She knows of other mothers who have children with albinism and they too fear for their children’s lives.

In sentencing the woman, the court declared her unfit to possess a firearm. The court further ordered that a social worker go to the woman’s house and assess the situation regarding her own children.

The Director of Public Prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal Adv. Elaine Zungu welcomes this sentence. “We hope this sentence addresses the myth of killing people living with albinism for the purpose of tradional medicines. This is a criminal offence and we view it in a very serious light. This case also highlights the basic human right to life and nobody should be denied that right. The NPA in KZN is currently engaging with traditional leadership in the uMkhanyakude district on various issues affecting the community, including human trafficking. We will continue to fight for justice for vulnerable groups and victims of crime. We commend the prosecution and the police for their stellar work in securing this conviction.

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