Members of a rural community in Mpumalanga were shocked to find two teenagers and an older man removing a woman's corpse from a grave the trio had just dug.
They claimed that God had given them a vision that the woman would come to life again.
Residents of Godide village, near Manyeleti game reserve, yesterday gathered at the grave of Lindiwe Mogwena, who was buried in February at the age of 29, and challenged the three who had just exhumed her body at about 9am.
By the time police arrived almost the entire village had arrived at the home of the late Mogwena, where the trio had taken her.
"The residents pointed at the two teenagers and the 33-year-old man who had dug up the woman's body," said Mhala police spokesman Constable Robert Makhubele yesterday.
He said the three explained to him and his colleagues that God had visited them during the night and gave them a vision that if they fasted for 14 days and exhumed the body on the 15th day the woman would live again.
"They told us that the dead person would wake up by midday so we gave them the benefit of the doubt, but when she was still stone dead when the deadline arrived we arrested the trio," said Makhubele.
He said the three would face charges of violating a grave and a dead body. He said they might appear in the Mhala magistrates' court today.
The three used a pick and shovels to dig open the grave.
After police arrested the suspects they then instructed them to take the body back to the grave and rebury it before they took them to the Mhala police station to be charged.