National 11.8.2016 04:14 pm

Community kills traditional healer over ‘witchcraft’

Picture: Thinkstock

Picture: Thinkstock

Community members set the woman’s house alight and killed her with an axe when she tried to escape the fire. Her grandson died in the blaze.

A 75-year-old traditional healer was allegedly killed by Sekgosese community members in Limpopo after they accused her of witchcraft, Letaba Herald reports.

Community members gathered in Mashau Matlago’s yard yesterday afternoon and set her house alight.

Her 18-year-old grandson Thabo Ramothala was inside the house when it was torched and died inside the house.

“The woman escaped the flames in the house and fled outside, but she was met by an angry mob that assaulted her with an axe and died on the scene,” said the police.

A murder and arson case has been opened and investigations are under way.

No arrests have been yet.

In a similar incident, a 62-year-old woman was shot 11 times and left for dead on the verandah outside her house in Bergville, at the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains in KwaZulu-Natal, in what is believed to be a witchcraft-related killing.

Ward councillor in the area, Kenneth Simelane, said there was the consensus among residents in the area that the crime was linked to witchcraft. The woman has been identified as Hlaleleni Layi Mazibuko.

A resident said: “It is believed community members say the woman was alleged by her attackers to have used witchcraft 20 years ago to resolve a matter. The family she targeted took revenge on the woman on Thursday shooting her 11 times.”

The councillor said: “People who believed in witchcraft should not be ignored, such beliefs will grow by generation and generation to come, even though it cannot be practically proven. Our youth are being misled. We need to educate our communities about such evils and to appeal to them that talking is better than violence.”

It is unknown who the woman is alleged to have attacked using witchcraft, or the outcome of the alleged attack. It is also unknown why the family waited 20 years to exact revenge.

It is not unusual in Zulu culture to believe in curses and witchcraft or to wait a considerable time to take revenge. However, residents in the area have stressed that the woman was not a sangoma.

Police are investigating a case of murder. “The motive for the murder is as yet not clear,” said police spokesperson Charmaine Struwig.

– Caxton News Service





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