Stop killing ‘witches’, Riah Phiyega urges Limpopo residents

2014-08-23 14:54

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National police commissioner General Riah Phiyega has asked Limpopo residents to help the police catch those who kill for body parts – and vigilantes who accuse people of witchcraft and kill them.

Phiyega was addressing residents of Thomo village outside Giyani after a tombstone was unveiled there for Catherine Nkovani-Chauke, who was killed by a mob which accused her of being a witch.

The 52-year-old was killed on April 28 this year, just one day after Freedom Day.

Phiyega said the police were conducting an awareness campaign in Thomo because both muthi killings and mob justice were on the rise in the Mopani district.

She said the Vhembe and Sekhukhune districts were hotspots for these kinds of crimes, too.

Phiyega told a crowd gathered at the Thomo Sports Grunds that people were being attacked and sometimes killed because of suggestions that they were involved in witchcraft. In other cases, she said, homes in Limpopo have been burned after their owners were accused of being witches.

Houses were burnt by residents of Relela village outside Tzaneen earlier this year after the mutilated body of Kgomotso Ragolane was found in the area.

“Taking the law in our own hands and accusing people of witchcraft, torching their house and killing them is crime. Help us put behind bars those who kill for body parts and don’t take the law into your own hands,” Phiyega said.

“What kind of a nation are when we lure our powerless children with sweets, kill them and mutilate their bodies for muthi killings? We need to put a stop to these horrific crimes with the help of our communities.

“These criminals are our children, neighbours, brothers and sisters. They are in the minority against us and we can’t allow them to make our lives difficult.

“Let’s reclaim our beautiful country from criminals. Tell us who they are and we’ll remove them from our midst.”

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