Alleged poisoners let out of place of safety

POLICE have told six women who were chased out of their village for allegedly poisoning their friend to go back

Mjaji Nwa-Sam Maluleke, Gezi Nwailan, Aida Marhanele, Mavis Mashaba, Girlie Nwa-Xidzemani and Mavhuwa Bila were chased out of Xigalo village about three months ago for allegedly poisoning Grace Mndlovu while all were drinking at a shebeen. Mndlovu fell ill and died the next day.

Her body was exhumed a month after her burial for an autopsy and the results are pending.

The women were taken to a place of safety on April 3 by the police after members of the community resolved that they should not set foot in Xigalo. A week ago the police told them to leave the place of safety and return to their village.

"Which relative can keep an old woman like me who is also accused of having used poison?" asked Marhanele.

The police told them that since they had not been charged it was illegal to keep them and feed them food reserved for prisoners and suspected prisoners.

Marhanele said the police, civic association and traditional leaders had let them down. The chairperson of the civic association at Xigalo, Joe Shitholane, said the plight of the women was in the hands of the community.

Warrant Officer Alson Mapindani said yesterday that the women were not suspects. He said he was not aware that they were no longer at the place of safety.

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