Witchcraft trial gets under way

Tonga - A trial against a man accused of calling an elderly woman a witch will resume in Mpumalanga on Monday.

Mzikayifani Mnisi, 45, of the Bhaca section of Mbuzini near the Swaziland and Mozambican border, pleaded not guilty to charges of contravening the Suppression of Witchcraft Act when he appeared in the Tonga Magistrate's Court on 7 July.

The victim, Elizabeth Mahlalela, 65, testified tearfully that she and her husband came across Mnisi and another man who blocked their way.

"They told my husband they don't have a problem with him, only me, as I had bewitched [Mnisi's] wife so that she would die," she said.

She said it was not the first time Mnisi had blocked her in the street.

State prosecutor Sebotse Rapelwana asked her whether she was a witch or not.

"Your Worship, I am not a witch and I don't know how it's practiced, but I grew up hearing that there is something called witchcraft. I am no longer free because this man always threatens to kill me wherever he goes or meets me," she said.

Mnisi, who was arrested on 22 April 2013, is out on R1 000 bail.

He has denied calling Mahlalela a witch, but admitted: "I don't like this woman with all my heart."

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