The Inkatha Freedom Party condemns in the strongest possible terms the persecution of elderly persons who are accused of witchcraft practices.
This comes after a seventy-eight-year-old woman’s mutilated body was found in her home in KwaDambuza, Edendale. The elderly woman was accused of allegedly practising witchcraft and bewitching people in her area.
Many innocent people have lost their lives due to accusations of practising witchcraft without any evidence. Torturing and various forms of violence against elderly women and men accused of witchcraft constitutes an infringement of their fundamental Human Rights. Section 12 (1) of the Constitution provides that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment from either public or private sources. Despite this and other similar legislation, persecution of elderly women suspected of witchcraft continues unabated in KwaZulu-Natal and this is unacceptable. Furthermore, there is little or no intervention from government to address this issue. It is our earnest belief that dealing with this horrible and problematic trend requires community dialogue and awareness at a local level.
We are calling on the law enforcement agencies to ensure that killings related to witchcraft are prioritised, investigated, prosecuted and punished accordingly by all legal institutions tasked to carry forth such mandates.
Elderly women and men are subjected to beatings and, in the worst cases, burnt alive by people taking the law into their own hands. This must come to an end. Furthermore, elderly people must be protected at all costs due to their vulnerable status in society. Some elderly people who are suffering from dementia and behave in a particular manner cannot be accused of being witches.
We call upon the Traditional Healers Association in KwaZulu-Natal to enforce laws and take action against some traditional healers who are still practising umhlahlo “witch sniffing” through which witches are identified. We believe that this process is contributing to the killing of people as they are made aware of who allegedly bewitched them.
The IFP calls upon the police to work around the clock to apprehend the killers of the seventy-eight-year-old Henrietta Nzimande who was killed in KwaDambuza.
Hon Les Govender, MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson for Social Development,
083 974 4894