Sangoma accused of raping children

McKeed Kotlolo

McKeed Kotlolo

An 84-year-old traditional healer, known locally as "Chief," has been arrested for abducting and raping 14 children.

Ngudwa Johannes Malinga was yesterday refused bail in the Carolina magistrate's court in Mpumalanga. The children are aged between four and 16 years.

Malinga, of Welgelegen Farm, in the Machadodorp area, was charged together with Lina Zwane, 30, of Sidingo section at Chrisismere in Mpumalanga. They appeared before magistrate Godfrey Netshidzwi, who postponed the trial to February 2.

Zwane is also charged with dealing in children.

Only Malinga applied for bail, saying: "I lose more than R3 000 a day" while in jail.

In an affidavit read by his legal representative, Theuns Botha, Malinga denied having raped 14 children and dealing in children. He claimed he had lived on the farm for nine years and took care of 15 children.

He claimed that he was too old to skip bail. His lawyer claimed that, at his age, Malinga was incapable of committing the crimes of which he has been accused.

Malinga was arrested on December 20 when he handed himself to the police after a trip to Malawi. The arrest followed a complaint to the police by a girl who said she had escaped while Malinga was in Malawi.

The police raided the farm and found 14 children, including a four- year-old boy whose job was to look after Malinga's cattle.

The other children worked in the house, prepared medicines and collected firewood. The reportedly traumatised children were taken to hospital and then to a place of safety.

Police said some of the children claimed that each night, before going to bed, they paraded naked before Malinga so that he could choose his "queen for the night". He then, they said, spent the night with the "queen" and if she pleased him would choose her repeatedly for two to four days.

They said Zwane, who had two daughters on the farm, procured children from needy families for Malinga for R600 a child.