Image by Klaus Hausmann from Pixabay

Six suspects face serious charges after kidnapping and assaulting woman, 81, they accused of witchcraft

Six suspects stand accused of assault, kidnapping and imputing witchcraft after they kidnapped an elderly woman and assaulted her at an open view in front of the community in June.


Image by Klaus Hausmann from Pixabay

Six suspects appeared in the Mount Fletcher Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, 17 June. They faced charges of kidnapping, assault and imputing witchcraft on an elderly woman from Zinyosini in the Eastern Cape.

The suspects allegedly stripped the woman naked and assaulted her in front of the community earlier in June.


South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Brigadier Tembinkosi Kinana said when police arrived at the scene on the day of the attack the 81-year-old woman was already stripped naked, tied up with a rope and assaulted at an open field in full view of the community.

“The Station Commander assembled other stakeholders which included the Municipality, Traditional Leaders and Social Development in an attempt to rescue the elderly woman from the violent crowd,” said Kinana.

The woman was eventually rescued from the mob and taken to a place of safety. Police opened cases of Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, kidnapping and Imputing witchcraft.

Six suspects, aged between 30 and 40, were arrested for the brutal attack on 14 June at Kwathafa and Zinyonsini in Mount Fletcher. “All six suspects remain in police custody and are expected back in court on Tuesday, 22 June 2021, in Mount Fletcher for formal bail application,” said Kinana.

Imputing witchcraft contravenes the Witchcraft Suppression Act of 1957. Section 1(a) of the Act reads as follows: “Any person who imputes to any other person the causing, by supernatural means, of any disease in or injury or damage to any person or thing, or who names or indicates any other person as a wizard; …shall be guilty of an offence…”

False accusations of witchcraft also constitute as an offence. Contravention of section 1(a) carries a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment.

The provincial police commissioner expressed concern about the youth’s morals, which “have been eroded by social evils and lack of education into community values.”

“Young men such as these, are supposed to be the protectors of the elderly rather than being violent against them,” said Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga.

“They are expected to be more enlightened to know that chasing elderly people on untested and unsubstantiated allegations of witchcraft carries with it serious repercussions.”