Woman, accused of being a witch, 'killed by mob' in Port Elizabeth

10 June 2020 - 09:26
By Yolanda Palezweni
Community members say the woman was accused of involvement of witchcraft. File photo.
Image: Gareth Wilson Community members say the woman was accused of involvement of witchcraft. File photo.

The brutally beaten body of a woman has been found in Wells Estate, near Motherwell in Port Elizabeth, with police now on the hunt for her attackers.

Spokesperson Capt Andre Beetge said police received a tip-off from a resident at about 8am on Monday about a body that had been found in bushes nearby.

At the same time, horrifying video clips of a defeated-looking woman — surrounded by a crowd who accused her of being a witch — have emerged. The footage is believed to have been taken on Sunday evening.

Community members, some of whom were on the scene when the woman was beaten and accused of being a witch, say she was later killed.

Beetge said though it was difficult to give specifics surrounding the death of the woman found on Monday “there are suspicions and rumours that she was killed by a mob after being accused of witchcraft”.

He said police on the scene had indicated that the woman had been brutally attacked, her body was bruised and it appeared that she had snagged herself on a fence while trying to flee her attackers.

In one of the video clips, seen by The Herald, a woman is shown sitting on the ground in an open area, her head down.

Her hair, face and clothes are covered in mud. It is not possible to ascertain from the grainy footage whether she is injured.

In a second clip, the same woman is seeing lying on the ground, while another woman talks to a group of people who have gathered at the scene.

The woman, with a child on her back, claims the person lying on the floor had entered her home before slapping her child’s face.

“She slapped my child and then when she wanted to slap me I blocked her.

“She smacked my child again with a bucket, chanting ‘in the name of Jesus, I have been sent to you’. My sister screamed and went outside for help,” the woman says.

When a sangoma asks the woman on the ground where she is from, she says she comes from Peddie but now lives in Wells Estate. She says she has been sent to practise witchcraft.

A resident who was with the mob when the woman was questioned asked not to be named, saying he was afraid the crowd would turn on him for speaking out.

He said he had heard the woman admitting to being a witch sent to the area to torment people.

“I have never seen such in my life,” the man said.

“The woman’s body was all covered with mud and her face so dark black as if she painted her face with charcoal.

“I left the mob with her and the next morning I went to work and when I came back I heard that she had died,” he said.

He said there were people in the crowd who told the mob not to hurt the woman.

A community member, who was also afraid to be identified, said:  “It is believed that those who were involved are on the run after this was brought forward to the police.” 

He alleged the victim’s accuser had known her and had previously partied with her.

Beetge said no arrests had been made and urged people with knowledge of the incident to contact the police. — HeraldLIVE