The Community of Ntsimbini near Mbizana, in the Eastern Cape, wants government to intervene to stop the spate of witchcraft related murders in their area. This village is a stone’s throw away from Winnie Madikizela Mandela’s home-village of Mbhongweni and the residents claim that more than 30 people have been killed in witchcraft related incidents over the past four years. The police dispute this number.
The residents also say very little is being done to stop the murders.
Just last week; an elderly women was killed. The 78-year old Ntombizodwa Toto-Madikizela was hacked to death with an axe. Unknown assailants burst into her house and murdered the sleeping woman in the middle of the night. Her grandchildren witnessed the attack. The woman’s family member, Jonguxolo Madikizela, says 13 children have been left orphaned as a result of the murder.
“People came in here at night and they hit the grandmother of these kids with an axe; they killed her. Now about 13 kids are left as orphans.We don’t have money.”
Everyone now lives in fear. Headman, Inkosi Nobomi Madikizela, says that the attacks are a problem as they leave a lot of children orphaned.
“The people believe that people are witches and they kill people alleging that they are witches. This is problematic because it leaves a lot of children as orphans.”
Resident, Connie Madikizela, says that the area has a high crime rate.
“We are in crisis in Ntsimbini village and we have a high rate of crime; year on year we have seen a lot of murders of women in our village. 16 women have been killed while 17 male have also been killed. We lose a lot of family members and we are worried that there are no repercussions. We see a lot of women being killed.”
The police disagree with the number of deaths touted by the community. Eastern Cape Police Provincial Spokesperson, Khaya Tonjeni, says that the numbers have been exaggerated.
“As Provincial police, we would like to argue that the number is a little bit exaggerated. At the moment, we have confirmed at least about seven cases that have been opened in that cluster and two more of those cases are awaiting the next court appearance date later in the year (2019). Three are awaiting decision at the regional court and three more are still under investigation. The detectives are leaving no stone unturned to make sure we arrest suspects and start the prosecution process.”
The community feels hopeless.
The children witnessed the horrific murder of their grandmother and are struggling to sleep. They have no family now and an uncertain future. The villages have asked the government to intervene and stop the onslaught against women in this area.