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Police on a witch hunt

20 September 2012 - 02:06 By Nashira Davids and Philani Nombembe

Witches in South Africa believe police are out to get them.

The SA Pagan Rights Alliance has claimed that it has heard that the SA Police Service has trained two detectives in each province to investigate "harmful occult-related" crimes. The alliance represents witches "who identify witchcraft as their religion".

The crimes police were trained specially for include:

  • Witchcraft-related offences, including black magic, witch-finding and witch-purging;
  • The practice of voodoo intended to cause harm;
  • Vampirism and joint infringement of the Human Tissue Act;
  • Murder or human sacrifice leaving evidence of occult involvement; and,
  • Allegations of rape by a tokoloshe spirit.

The alliance has objected to what it calls the "launch of regional occult-related crime units". But national police spokesman Colonel Vish Naidoo said police were not targeting religious groups and that investigating such crimes was not new.