Villagers, at the birthplace of late ANC struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, in Mbongweni, Mbizana in the Eastern Cape, are living in fear after more than 33 people were murdered in the past three years.
The victims include 16 women. They were all accused of witchcraft and were hacked to death. Some were killed in front of their children. The latest victim is the 78-year-old Ntombizodwa Toto Madikizela, who was killed last week and will be buried on Saturday. Villager, Connie Madikizela says they have tried to dispel the myths about witchcraft.
“We are in crisis, our people are killed because of the allegations of witchcraft almost now and again of which the investigations are carried by the investigators but there are no permanent arrests and the conviction of those criminals. Families are in crisis, some already have left this place because victims were taken out of their children , mothers were killed. We need urgent intervention from government.”
The Chairperson of the Social Development Portfolio Committee of the fifth Parliament, Zoleka Capa has been housing many people who have been accused of witchcraft in the Pondoland area. She says, in most cases, witch hunt mob justice is due to ignorance. Despite this however, Capa believes perpetrators should face the full might of the law.
“There are diseases that kill people. It’s not necessarily you die because you have been bewitched. So I think not much has been done to consciously be able to convince people, especially about these modern type diseases. This issue of women associated with witchcraft has been there and it is where there is no development.”