Family of slain woman accused of being a witch face off with supporters of her alleged murderers

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Collen Sello and Taelo Dipholo, in court for murder.
Collen Sello and Taelo Dipholo, in court for murder.
Ntwaagae Seleka
  • The family of a mentally ill woman - killed after being accused of being a witch - faced off with supporters of the two murder accused.
  • The family, supported by traditional healers, denied claims the accused were wrongfully implicated.
  • They were angered by the accused's supporters carrying placards claiming the two men were innocent.

The family of the slain mentally ill woman has rebuked claims by supporters of the two arrested men that they are innocent.

The family of Jostina Sangweni, a mentally ill Soweto woman who was burnt alive, has rebuked claims by supporters of the two men accused of her murder that they are innocent.

The family's reaction followed a brief appearance by Collen Sello, 27, and Taelo Dipholo, 28, in the Protea Magistrate's Court.

Sangweni, 59, who suffered from schizophrenia, was attacked and set alight on 26 March by a mob after she was found in a yard in Mapetla, Soweto.

She was accused of being a witch because she was wearing attire normally worn by traditional healers.

Sangweni died in hospital on 5 April. 

The court room where Sello and Dipholo appeared, was packed with supporters of both the accused and the victim.

The two men were supported by people carrying placards pronouncing: "Taelo and Collen are innocent."

Sangweni's relatives were supported by traditional healers.

READ | CRL Rights Commission to probe murder of mentally ill Soweto woman accused of witchcraft - report

A formal bail application was scheduled to be heard, but the matter was adjourned after the lawyer representing Sello failed to appear in court.

Magistrate Elmarie Tise postponed the matter to 11 May.

Outside court, Sangweni's son-in-law Jabulani Moagi said her death still haunted them.

"Our mother's death is still haunting us. People cannot claim to be innocent until proven so by the court of law. If they are innocent as they claimed, they must tell us who are [the] guilty ones.

"If the two men are innocent, the court will free them. But, if they are guilty, they will remain behind bars. Our mother was the sweetest person. She was loved by many. She did not have conflicts with anyone," said Moagi.

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