Police watched helplessly as angry residents tortured a naked woman accused of being a witch in a village in Mbangwane.
The unidentified woman is believed to have gained entrance to a house in Mbangwane village through a bathroom window and was found naked in the kitchen.
Residents were woken in the early hours of Saturday to come and see the woman, who was tied up and being beaten by a group of angry men. People at the scene said the police were warned to stay away from the house.
In pictures and a video our news crew has seen, residents blocked the entrance to the house. A number of police cars were parked outside. After hours of negotiation, the woman was rescued by the police and taken away from the scene.
A video that has gone viral on social media shows the woman wearing only panties and a bra sitting on the floor in a tiled room. She is leaning against the wall with her hands tied with a piece of rope.
A man in a purple shirt is seen with an enamel mug., He is moving it around her legs. It seems the mug is hot because the woman is heard saying repeatedly “Uyangishisa (You are burning me). Please forgive me.”
The woman then gets a whipping from another man in a red T-Shirt.
“Ufuna tsina sife? (You want us to die?),” the man in the red T-shirt says as he hits her with a fist and swears.
Voice in the background ask the woman who she is. Other people are taking photos and videos of her.
She mumbles: “Ngingo wakaMathabela (I am Mathabela).”
After several beatings with a thick black whip, she cries out: “We were in the area bewitching!”
The man in the red T-shirt continues: “Uloya tsina kutsi sife singaphumeleli la emhlabeni (You are bewitching us because you want us to die without being successful in life).”
Another man in grey jersey hits her on the head with an unknown object.
Though the police arrived in large numbers, they were warned to stay away by the angry mob.
A woman who resides in the area and commented on condition of anonymity said: “What we want to know is how the woman got into the house. All the doors were locked. He she managed to come into the house through the bathroom window is beyond me.”
Mpumalanga police spokesperson Colonel Leonard Hlathi said police were doing their investigations.
“We are assessing information given to us. If need be, we will refer it to harmful-occult investigators,” said Hlathi.