Healers slate muthi killings
"Traditional healers have got nothing to do with private parts"
TRADITIONAL healers in Limpopo have joined a call by religious, traditional and political leaders to denounce myths inspiring ritual murder killings in the province.
The healers have also made a call for the arrest of those among them who prescribe body parts as medicines.
The call came yesterday during a summit in Polokwane and organised by the South African Police Service following a spate of ritual murders in the province's rural areas.
In some instances, victims survived to recount their sordid tales .
Limpopo Traditional Healers Association leader Sylvester Hlathi said his organisation would work with other stakeholders to ensure that healers who prescribed human body parts as medicines were arrested and prosecuted.
Hlathi said bogus traditional healers were the one's fuelling brutal attacks and killings of people for body parts.
The backward practice associated with traditional healers as a means of cure or boosting business is still dominant in some parts of the country.
Limpopo has been dubbed been duped as the capital of ritual killings as people, children and survivors are robbed of their loved ones and breadwinners.
"Traditional healers have got nothing to do with private parts. What is happening we have got people who pretend to be traditional healers who prescribe body parts as muthi," said Hlathi
Criminology professor Cornelius Roelofse of the University of Limpopo said ritual killing for body parts, just like rhino horn poaching, had become part of organised crime.
"In essence, ritual killing is financially driven because financial transaction takes place in the process," said Roelofse.
He suggested there would be no quick fix solutions to the problem, rather a multi-disciplinary and integrated approach was needed to replace myth with reality.
Traditional leaders' organisations hailed the summit as an instrumental platform to eliminate and denounce the killings of humans for body parts.
Kgosi Seshego Sekororo of Contralesa and Khosi Vusani Netshimbupfe said police and the community, together with traditional healers, have got had a duty to educate society that human body parts don't did not heal or have have any super natural powers.
"The ongoing ritual killings are signs that people are still backward and holding to the old practices. This has put a test to our justice system. The justice system is not tight enough to deter the practice," said Netshimbupfe.
Failure to strengthen the law and regulations has been under the spotlight since a traditional healer was sentenced to 12 months in prison for possession of human body parts.
The court ruling was based on the 1983 Act on the possession of body parts and dealing with human tissue.
Provincial police commissioner General Simon Mpembe said ritual murder cases were a problem in the province.
Mpembe said silence by communities also jeopardised police investigations as villagers often kept quiet when they knew the suspects.
The summit took place with political leaders failing to implement resolutions taken during the 2006 ritual murder summit that revealed 46 unresolved ritual murder cases.
Among the resolutions was that there was a need to establish a specialised unit to handle cases that had left some survivors traumatised and with permanent knife marks on their bodies.