Mpumalanga police were so shocked when they saw a street vendor collecting soil from their yard that they arrested her for questioning yesterday morning.
The woman's explanation to the Tonga police near Komatipoort was that she wanted to mix the soil with that from her own yard to save her son from further arrests.
Mavis Makoba, 35, of the nearby Boschfontein area, allegedly told police that a Pretoria sangoma had told her that if she mixed the soil from the police station with that from her home, her son would no longer be arrested.
Makoba's son, Smanga Makoba, 19, had been arrested twice last year on charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
"We were surprised to find the woman talking in tongues in the police station yard. She told us she was speaking to her ancestors to bless the soil that she had already collected from the yard so she could save her son from further arrests," said Tonga police spokesman Constable Mzwandile Nyambi yesterday.
Makoba told Sowetan shortly after her release that she was tired of seeing her son being arrested by the police.
"Every woman who has a son can do it. I visited a Pretoria sangoma who told me the solution was to mix the soil from the police station with that from her home so police would stop arresting my son," said Makoba.
Police released her after questioning and have asked members of the public to refrain from casting spells at the police.
Her son, who is out on warning, is expected to appear before a local magistrate on assault charges next week.