A South African government spokesman warned black parents to stop using witchcraft to protect criminals. In the northeastern Mpumalanga province, Community Safety MEC Pat Ngomane said on Saturday, criminals thus remain "protected" from law enforcers.
“The fight against crime can never be won if there are people who are still protecting criminals instead of surrendering them to the police,” said Ngomane blaming witchcraft for the high crime rate.
He warned parents that they were defeating the ends of justice by using witchcraft against the police.
Ngomane said parents should stop taking their children, who have committed crimes, to witchdoctors – called “traditional healers” – for protection during a Safety and Security meeting in the town of Leandra on Saturday.
“What kind of parents are those who hide criminals in their homes while innocent community members become victims of their children’s doings? We don’t want to kill them, but to keep them in a place where their morals will be regenerated, so we ask you to please surrender them to us,” he said.
He said community members must help fight crime and pleaded with witchdoctors and preachers to spread the gospel of a crime free environment.
Meanwhile a black college lecturer was fired last week after he accused another colleague at Northern Cape Urban TVET College in Kimberley of using witchcraft against him and being a racist. He was fired after being found guilty of eight charges‚ including insubordination and bringing the college into disrepute.
John Phahlane failed in his appeal against dismissal, and a court ordered him to stay away from the college’s three campuses. Granting the interdict‚ the judge said: “It (took) the intervention of the SAPS [South African Police Service] on two occasions to remove (Phahlane) from the college premises.”
The interdict also bans the lecturer from “threatening‚ assaulting‚ intimidating and/or contacting” the principal and seven other college staff members.
College principal Clifford Barnes said he needed to protect staff and students against the former black computer science lecturer’s “violence and aggression”. Phahlane’s confrontational behaviour was exacerbated by the fact that some students failed a subject because he did not mark their papers.
The judge said the lecturer’s conduct had a negative impact on the college. “Adults need to inspire learners with positive attributes and good leadership qualities‚” she said.
Phahlane started work at the college in 2012. He ignored a letter in August 2015 warning him to stop his antics and was given a letter of suspension the following month. He refused to leave until the police were called.
In yet another witchcraft-related incident in South Africa this month, two South American circus lions that were released into a sanctuary for big cats were discovered with their heads and paws cut off in a witchcraft related killing.
The rescue operation was the largest ever air evacuation of big cats, making headlines around the world. Due to their poor physical condition, the lions were unable to hunt and had to be fed game meat.
Poachers frequently kill lions at South African game lodges to make traditional potions and charms that are supplied to the country’s witchcraft market. Many of the lions are poisoned before their bodies are mutilated.
Lion paws used for witchcraft
Last year poachers bypassed an advanced security system at a lodge near the town of Tzaneen in the northern Limpopo province, killing two lions by feeding them poisoned meat.
Witchcraft medicine, called “muti”, is widely used by black South Africans who regularly visit witchdoctors. Animal body parts, such as lion paws and vulture brains, are often used in concoctions. Human parts are also used and can be bought at markets in major cities such as Johannesburg and Durban.
In 2015 two black men and three black minors were arrested for decapitating a woman, Desiree Murugan, in the coastal city of Durban. Murugan’s head was sold to a witchdoctor for “muti”.
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