Woman burnt to death after witchcraft claims
Yet another EmaXesibeni (formerly Mount Ayliff ) woman has been found burnt to ashes, in her village home on Monday morning.
A statement sent by Alfred Nzo district municipality on the incident stated that the victim had been accused of witchcraft, making it the third incident attributed to witchcraft killings in the area this month.
Last week the Daily Dispatch reported how 53-year-old Nothethisa Ntshamba and her younger sister Ntombi Ndlanya, 48, had been burnt to death in their home at Ngonyameni village in EmaXesibeni over allegations of witchcraft.
However Eastern Cape police say it is too soon to say the most recent death is anything other than accidental. Preliminary investigations suggest there was “no third hand” involved in the elderly woman’s death.
They said an inquest had been opened to ascertain exactly how the woman died.
The incident happened around 4.10am in Brooksnek village, according to Eastern Cape police spokesperson Captain Khaya Tonjeni. The deceased has been identified as 75-year-old Noxhamla Landa.
“On December 24 at about 4.10 am, the house of Mrs Landa, who was sleeping alone, was seen burning by the neighbours,” said Tonjeni. “Upon opening, she was found burnt to ashes.”
The spokesperson said: “… we are investigating an inquest because at this point the preliminary investigation hasn't shown any foul play in her death.”
At the time of the sisters’ deaths, the provincial police commissioner had promised that no stone would be left unturned in bringing the perpetrators to book.
This week Tonjeni revealed that seven suspects, among them two minors aged 17, had been arrested for the murder of the two sisters. They were also charged with arson.
“A well co-ordinated investigative effort by a newly-assembled team of detectives resulted in the arrest of seven suspects – two 17-year-old minor boys, three females aged between 21 and 26 and two male suspects aged 21 and 23.”
Acting provincial police commissioner major -general André Swart had also condemned the incident which he described as a cowardly attack, even going as far as saying it would not be tolerated in the province.
The suspects appeared in the EmaXesibeni magistrate's court last week.
Tonjeni said the two minors had meanwhile been taken to social workers who were expected to make a recommendation on what steps to take.
“We will continue to explore other ways to educate the public against attack of our weak and vulnerable. We will also engage other government departments to create awareness,” added Swart.
On Wednesday this week, Alfred Nzo district mayor Sixolile Mehlomakhulu said the district municipality would step in and assist in ensuring that Landa was accorded a dignified funeral.
“Once again we send our deepest condolences to the Landa family and relatives,” he said, while also calling on communities across the Alfred Nzo district to help prevent witchcraft-related deaths.
We will continue to educate the public against attack of weak and vulnerable