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‘We have lost our moral compass’: KZN MEC after elderly woman accused of witchcraft found mutilated

01 June 2021 - 15:02 By orrin singh
The mutilated body of an elderly woman suspected of witchcraft was discovered in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal on May 26. Stock photo.
The mutilated body of an elderly woman suspected of witchcraft was discovered in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal on May 26. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Paul Fleet

The murder and mutilation of a KwaZulu-Natal pensioner accused of practising witchcraft has been slated by the government.

It is understood 78-year-old Henrietta Nzimande’s body was found at her home in KwaDambuza, Edendale, near Pietermaritzburg on Thursday by her daughter. Her face had been disfigured. 

KwaZulu-Natal social development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza condemned the murders of senior citizens in the province.

On Tuesday Khoza said Nzimande had been living alone.

“We strongly condemn this brutal murder of our senior citizen. We are highly disappointed that our senior citizens continue to be murdered like this, and we want to ensure perpetrators are found and are made to pay for their sins.”

Khoza said Nzimande was allegedly killed after being accused of witchcraft, something no-one can prove.

“These types of crimes in our province show we have a lot of people who have lost their moral compass. There are vicious criminals who continue to murder our senior citizens and rob them of their belongings, including old age grants.

Our people need to learn that if an old person lives alone, it doesn’t mean he or she is involved in witchcraft.
MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza

“Our people need to learn that if an old person lives alone, it doesnt mean he or she is involved in witchcraft. We have many senior citizens who prefer to be alone in their homes or live by themselves because their relatives are working far away.”

Khoza appealed to family members and communities not to “turn a blind eye if you see an old person staying alone”. 

“Leaving an old person alone at home makes them very vulnerable, hence we always encourage our communities to ensure they inform us of such cases, so we can take them to safe places where they will receive 24-hour care. We have a lot of old age homes and they are made to protect our elderly people. We urge our communities to make use of these facilities.”

She called on law enforcement agencies to work around the clock to apprehend Nzimandes killer. 

A team of social workers has been dispatched to provide psychosocial support to the family.

Provincial police spokesperson Capt Nqobile Gwala said Plessislaer police responded to a call about the discovery of a body at Dambuza in Pietermaritzburg on May 26.

“On arrival they found the body of a 78-year-old woman lying on the floor with a missing ear and toe. An inquest docket was opened for investigation.”

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