Mob torches couple

2010-12-02 00:00

A WOMAN and her husband were burnt to death in Pietermaritzburg yesterday afternoon after they were accused of having abducted a seven-year-old boy to use him for witchcraft.

Tholakele Shoba (54), a trainee traditional healer, and her husband Shezi (60) were killed in Snathing near Edendale at about 1pm.

About 100 community members who killed them sat next to the bodies until a mortuary van collected their badly burnt bodies at about 6.30 pm.

The community members repeatedly said the couple deserved to die in that way because they had abducted a number of people who are still missing. The couple’s house was also set alight.

The attack followed the disappearance of 11-year-old Mthokozisi Mpanza on November 11. His body was discovered on November 17 in a nearby stream with body parts missing. He was buried on Sunday.

The community members went to a sangoma — known only as Ngcobo — yesterday morning and he told them that Shoba had abducted the child.

It is alleged that he told them the body they had found was not that of a real human being, but had been created through muthi.

A community member who declined to be named told The Witness, “He told us that Mthokozisi was still alive and that maShoba has kept him together with other locals, who were also abducted. When we returned from Ngcobo we called a meeting at our traditional leader’s house to give them the feedback. We then asked maShoba to tell us where she kept the child.”

Shoba was summoned from town by telephone, and came to the meeting little suspecting what was going to happen.

“After interrogating her, she admitted that she kidnapped the boy and told us that she used him for witchcraft purposes.

“Her husband started to hit people, which provoked people to attack them with sticks and stones before they set them alight,” said the community member.

Mthokozisi’s 25-year-old sister said they believed what Ngcobo had told them:

“That Ngcobo is a credible sangoma, who is well-trained. He even showed us his certificates. We had no reason not to believe what he told us. He said he can even stand in court to defend what he told us,” said the sister.

Shoba’s elder brother, Gugu Shoba (55), said he was shocked at the way his sister and brother-in-law were killed.

“They did not have to burn them. At least they should just have killed them.

“Usually is it true what the sangomas foresee, although I cannot say my sister was guilty of practising witchcraft,” said Shoba.

The couple had a 10-year-old boy living with them. He arrived home from school to find their house burning.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said no one has was arrested.

She was not in a position to say whether the sangoma will be arrested as an accessory to murder.

“Police are investigating the matter,” said Jeevan.

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