Muthi killing outrage

THE rising number of suspected muthi killing victims is tearing the community of Malamulele in Limpopo apart

A local chief, Patrick Mavambe, has even threatened that his people will not vote in the local government election because the police were failing to solve the murders.

This comes after the discovery of the body of a 33-year-old local man at Mavambe in Malamulele.

The body was found after the funeral on Saturday of a suspected muthi killing victim, Tsatsawani Maceke, 75.

Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale, who attended the funeral, said calls for people not to vote were irresponsible for a leader.

Angry youths clashed with the police after barricading the road between Thohoyandou and Malamulele and stoning cars.

The dead man was identified as Stanley Hlungwani, a security guard who worked in Tzaneen.

His father, Alfred Hlungwani, said he came home on Friday to attend the funeral of his lifelong friend Jonas Bila.

"We were shocked when people said there was a body in the trench next to the main road to Thohoyandou. When we went there we found it was my son," he said sobbing.

He said this enraged the youths, who linked his son's death to the recent ritual murder of Grace Baloyi, 47, at Mavambe, and that of Maceke.

A local leader said: "All the body parts seem intact. He appeared to be bleeding after apparently being hit with an object."

The youth were also demanding the arrest of a Thulamela municipality official at Dovheni Village whom they linked to the death of Baloyi.

Mavambe Crisis Committee chairperson Daniel Chauke said there was a breakdown of relations with the police.

"They say they will no longer work with us and have also threatened to arrest our chief after he complained at Maceke's funeral," Chauke said.

The chief said later yesterday he had summoned all the headman and will also seek the advice of ANC Vhembe chairperson Falaza Mdaka.

So far Solomon Mathebula, 35, Risenga Zitha, 33, Makhauza Jowa, 60, Patrick Dengeza, 32, and Sarah Maluleke, 35, appeared briefly in the Malamulele magistrate's court in connection with Maceke's death.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Motlafela Mojapelo said 48 people were arrested for public violence and will appear in the Malamulele magistrate's court today.