Police are investigating popular Durban traditional healer Mbuso "Mafetswa" Makhathini for allegedly pointing a firearm at the wife of a rival healer.
Makhathini and healer Keletso "Bingo" Pekile both practise healing by using the method of keeping dangerous reptiles such as pythons in their homes in Umlazi in Durban.
Police spokesman Vincent Mdunge said they had opened a case of pointing a firearm against Makhathini.
"The case was opened at the Umlazi police station on Tuesday last week. It is alleged that Makhathini barricaded Pekile's driveway with two vehicles and a group of men.
"They demanded to see Pekile and allegedly pointed a firearm at his wife," Mdunge said.
Mdunge said Pekile's wife had called her husband soon afterwards so that he could attend to the group.
"On Pekile's way home, he met the suspects who had accompanied Makhathini. He was able to identify them since he knew them. The allegations are very serious," Mdunge said.
The two healers are fierce rivals and have been been in conflict since last year after a motorist complained that Makhathini had cast a spell over him after the motorist had allegedly insulted Makhathini.
At the time, Pekile accused Makhathini of misleading the community, saying he was giving the wrong impression about traditional healing.
Reggie Khumalo, a cultural expert in KwaZulu-Natal, said it was a disgrace that modern-day traditional healers were fighting each other.
"In the old days izinyanya [healers] used to be friends because they specialised in the ancestral gift of healing.
"Today we have some fly-by-night healers who claim to know everything and use healing to enrich themselves," he said.
Khumalo said healers became healers by following a calling by their ancestors to help the society through the use of traditional herbs.