When Mzwandile Ntuli woke up naked, bound and bloody in a strange bathroom in Albertville, Johannesburg, all he could do was scream for his life.
Ntuli, 27, was kidnapped on Friday afternoon in Hillbrow by four men who bundled him into the boot of a white car. He claimed he was sedated and severely assaulted.
Ntuli was saved by neighbours who heard him scream after his attackers left him alone in the house.
In an exclusive interview with The Times, Ntuli said he did not know why he was attacked but he was convinced that the men wanted his body parts.
“They stripped me naked and told me that today [Friday] was my last day. I should pray. If I didn’t pray, well, I will die. Then one of them came with a knife. He said he wants my ears, nipples and tongue. He started cutting my ear and nipple. I tried to scream but I couldn’t. Next thing I passed out and woke up in a cold bath,” said Ntuli after receiving medical treatment at Helen Joseph Hospital.
Bonolo Marokane, who lives near the house where Ntuli was found, was the first person who heard him screaming for help. She alerted a private security guard patrolling the area.
The SCP Response guard Alex Kgawane jumped into the yard and, upon peeking through the bathroom window, was astonished by what he saw.
“I saw a man covered in blood. He had tape around his neck, legs and his hands [were tied] behind his back. I called for backup and we broke into the house. We found him bleeding. Outside the door was a syringe and some medical stuff. The smell in the house was terrible. The whole scene was like a clip from a horror movie,” said Kgawane.
Four men were arrested hours later on their return to the house. One of them is a doctor who is renting the property. The other three men are taxi drivers, police said.
The men have been charged with kidnapping and attempted murder.
Sophiatown police spokesman Captain Xoli Mbele said: “The doctor claims he was mugged of his cellphone by three boys in town on Friday morning. They found one of the boys and locked him in the house. They were going to search for the other two boys when [Ntuli] managed to scream for help.”
When The Times visited the area yesterday, the house was not sealed off. Some blood in the bathroom appeared to have been washed off. A roll of tape used to gag Ntuli could be seen in the shower, while blue latex gloves were left on the kitchen table.
“The motive for the crime is not yet known. Investigators are still gathering information. Blood samples have been sent to the laboratory,” said Mbele.
John Marokane, who lives next door, said they were planning to contact the homeowner.
“The house is neglected and has been in a terrible state for some time. Several neighbours have raised this in our WhatsApp group. Friday’s incident is of great concern for most of us. Who knows? Maybe we live next to a senseless criminal,” said Marokane.
The house has no electricity or furniture.
Ntuli, who denied being a cellphone thief, has been discharged from hospital. He had stitches on his right cheek, neck and below his left nipple. He said he was struggling to eat because the suspects pierced his tongue.
He said his attackers should be handed lengthy sentences to ensure that they do not inflict the same pain on others.
“People of Johannesburg, let us get safe; there are people that are not right around here,” Ntuli said.