Desperate Limpopo residents were disappointed when a Zimbabwean sangoma they had hired to look for thieves was himself arrested.
The traditional healer who was arrested for being in the country illegally was deported back to his country.
Residents hired Kenneth Mathuthu's services after the theft of the only water pump that supplied water to the 2000 people of Sikhunyani village.
The theft of the machine has left the residents with no choice but to share water from a river with animals.
Mathuthu was arrested on his way back from Zimbabwe after he had gone there to fetch "stronger" muti. The local muti he used before failed to work.
Residents said they were still baffled how the water pump was stolen because it was large and heavy to carry.
Limpopo's water affairs department spokesman, Alison Mathukani, said the local council was responsible for water supply in the area and not his department.
"We were not aware of the theft. This kind of theft happens a lot in the entire Giyani area," said Mathukani.
"Sometimes these thieves steal electricity and telephone cables. But we are going to look into the matter soon."
Simon Nkuna, a district ward committee member, said the sangoma's deportation has left the community without an alternative means to find and arrest the thieves.
"This is upsetting us because the sangoma was going to find the pump. We resorted to the sangoma because the police always fail to arrest these thieves," said Nkuna.
Mopani police spokesman Moatshe Ngoepe could not confirm the sangoma's arrest.