Letters | Bring the law down on ‘witch sniffers’

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The Inkatha Freedom Party condemns in the strongest terms possible the persecution of older persons who are accused of witchcraft practices.

This comes after a seventy-eight-year-old woman’s mutilated body was found in her home in KwaDambuza, Edendale.

The elderly woman was accused of allegedly practising witchcraft and bewitching people in her area.

"Older women and men are subjected to beatings and, in the worst cases, burnt alive by people taking the law into their own hands."
Les Govender

We are calling on the law enforcement agencies to ensure that killings related to witchcraft are prioritised, investigated, prosecuted and punished accordingly by the police and the judiciary.

We call upon the Traditional Healers Association in KwaZulu-Natal to enforce laws and take action against some traditional healers who are still practising “witch sniffing” by which witches are identified. The practise, known in isiZulu as umhlahlo, sees a sangoma using spiritual powers to identify witches by calling them by their names.

We believe that this process is contributing to the killing of people as they are made aware of who bewitched them.

Older women and men are subjected to beatings and, in the worst cases, burnt alive by people taking the law into their own hands.

This must come to an end.

Elderly people must be protected at all costs. Some elderly people who are suffering from dementia and behave in a particular manner cannot be accused of being witches.

LES GOVENDER, MPL

IFP KZN provincial spokesperson for social development

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