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'Where's the trust money?', muthi survivor asks

By Benson Ntlemo | 2011-06-23 09:23:02.0

AFTER Nyelisani Sidimela of Makonde village outside Thohoyandou in Venda was brutally attacked by muthi merchants in 2005, she was hospitalised for three years

While in hospital, she was relieved to know that a trust fund had been started in her name. And that, when she was released, her pain would be made less because the generosity of South Africans would see to it that she was well looked after. But since her discharge from hospital in 2008, she says life has been harsh on her.

"Each time I must go for a check-up at George Mkhari Hospital in Pretoria, it's a big struggle. I must also go to the nearest clinic," she says.

She says she appreciates that she has been put on social grant, but it is not enough to see her through.

"Meanwhile, I have seen in newspapers and on TV that the trust account had attracted a lot of money."

She says since her discharge, she has never seen a cent from the fund.

Her ordeal started when she and her companion, Maanda Sendedza, were sitting in the bush next to Shadani village in Makonde.

Three men went past them, but within minutes they had pounced on them.

Sendedza, who had his private parts and tongue removed, later died. Sidimela, who had her lips cut off, miraculously survived

Two suspects, Mukondeleli Phosha of Tshidzini and Shumani Dzebu of Muledzhi, were arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder.

They cooperated with the police and two traditional healers, Tshimomo Munyai and Balanganani Munyai, were also arrested.

The four were also implicated in another ritual murder of a 40-year-old man at Mafukani. They were all given life sentences.

While the community and the Sidimela family were still reeling from shock, the SA Council of Churches (SACC), SABC radio stations (Phalaphala FM, Munghana Lonene and Thobela FM), Nafcoc, the Office of the Premier and the Makonde community launched a trust fund for her reconstructive surgery .

Community members contributed R20 per household to the trust fund.

Dean Alunamutwe Rannditsheni, who was the co-ordinator of the trust fund, said the money was deposited into the account of the SACC.

"I think the money is still there . it's just that I have not been involved in the trust for a long time," he said, referring further enquiries to SACC secretary Mautji Pataki.

Pataki said the money was "still there" but that there had been some problems within the family.

"Maybe this is a wake-up call. We must go back to the family and solve this issue."