I gave gangster a magic belt

A sangoma in strife-torn Etwatwa township in Benoni, East Rand, has revealed how he gave a gang member a magic belt which he later used to commit crime.

Sangoma Jan "December" Dladla, 28, told Sowetan that he was in hiding in Pretoria after his parents' home, where he stayed, was twice invaded by an angry mob looking for him and his nephew.

He said he was accused of providing the notorious OVL gang members with muthi that allegedly encouraged the gang to terrorise the community.

"One of them asked me to give him a belt that will protect him from his enemies, and I did that after I charged him R500. I did not know that he wanted to use the muthi I gave him to commit criminal offences. My mother said there were some OVL members who want to kill me too," he said.

Last week, three teenage boys including twin brothers Sabelo and Samkelo Maisela, 16, were necklaced by a mob accusing them of being members of a gang.

A fourth teenager also alleged to belong to the gang was severely injured when his mother's shack was set alight. He is in hospital after narrowly escaping with his life.

The gang is accused of terrorising the community by committing violent crimes. Those who refused to be identified for fear of being attacked said the OVL gang was on the rampage - robbing, assaulting and killing innocent people.

But Dladla has vowed to return home from hiding once calm is restored.

Dladla said he fled his home two weeks ago after he was told that an angry crowd was heading to his home to kill him.



"I am a sangoma and everybody in my township knows that. People consult me and others often asked to be strengthened and I would do that. Before there was turmoil in our township, four OVL members arrived at my place seeking help."

Dladla said he wanted to go home and continued with his practice, but he was afraid that his return would spark more tension in the area.

Dladla's 18-year-old nephew said he escaped death twice after the mob went to Phakamani Secondary School looking for him. The grade 11 pupil denied being a member of the OVL gang. He fled Etwatwa but now wishes to return to school.

"I could not write my exams and I am going back to school tomorrow (Wednesday) accompanied by my grandmother.

"I have not done anything wrong."

His grandmother Lizzy Nkabinde is also afraid after a mob threatened to torch her home.

She has asked for a police patrol.

Police spokesman Lieutenant- Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said two people were taken in for questioning and later released.

No arrests have yet been made.

Gauteng community safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane's spokesman Ndivhuho Gadisi said the MEC would deploy more police officers to ensure calm is restored.

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