A BRUISING showdown is looming at Vukuzenzele 2 Village in Esikhoveni area of Esigodini District between witch-hunters popularly known as tsikamutandas and suspected witches.
The alleged witches are accused of "detaining" a four-year-old boy who mysteriously disappeared four months ago.
The tsikamutandas are claiming the boy who disappeared four months ago, was still alive and being taken care of by suspected witches who want to turn him into a tikoloshe.
B-Metro recently reported that bewilderment seized villagers after gruesome revelations by the tsikamutandas who visited the area for a cleansing ceremony at the instigation of villagers claimed the boy was alive and being initiated into a tikoloshe.
This was after the distraught villagers' frantic search for Belinda Mlilo's child who mysteriously disappeared on 20 November last year yielded nothing.
Reports are that Mlilo who was employed as a domestic worker by the Mhlanga family left her child as she went to a nearby bush to gather firewood.
It is reported that the boy mysteriously disappeared when he tried to follow his mother.
A visit by B-Metro to the area on Monday afternoon revealed that the tsikamutandas' much hyped presence had also yielded nothing.
The tsikamutandas are however, accusing the Mhlanga family where the child disappeared from, of throwing spanners into their works, by allegedly refusing to grant them access to their homestead to conduct a cleansing so that the child could be rescued.
In an interview, one of the tsikamutandas Mandla Moyo who is also the leader of the "delegation", insisted that the child was "still alive" but their frantic efforts to rescue him were being hampered by the Mhlanga family who were refusing them permission to go into their homestead.
"We assured them (villagers) that the child is there and even some of the women who were implicated in the disappearance have publicly confessed that he is there. The problem we are now facing is that we are can't go to the homestead where the child went missing without the owners' consent.
"We cannot just go to the homestead and execute our duties because the elders are not around. They left two weeks ago claiming they were attending a relative's funeral in Bulawayo but up to now they haven't returned," chuckled Moyo.
He said the family had also tried to frustrate them by engaging the police so that they stop them from conducting a cleansing ceremony at the homestead, which he claimed was a precursor to the location of the child.
"The family has made several efforts to stop us from doing our work. We also heard that they are now planning to approach the courts to seek a peace order against us so that we stay away from the matter and leave the village. Our argument is that we will not leave until we rescue the child," he said.
He added: "Ever since we came here there has been violence instigated by some members of the family where the child disappeared from. They are causing chaos so that the blame will come back to us as the ones who are failing to diligently discharge our duties and causing disunity among the villagers.
"The house where we were staying when we first visited the area was also burnt down after relatives of the person who had given us shelter accused us of exposing them."
One of the villagers accused the tsikamutandas of tricking them by not constantly giving them feedback on the whereabouts of the child.
"When they came here they started conducting cleansing ceremonies at people's houses at the expense of their mission which is to locate the child. They are also not giving us any updates from their investigations and some of the alleged suspects were interrogated and discharged.
"There is no information as of yet which might lead us to the missing boy. The boy's mother also out of frustration left today (Monday) claiming there was no immediate solution in sight," said a villager who chose to remain anonymous.
Headman Njabulo Mguni said people's hopes which had been pinned on tsikamutandas to rescue the child had faded.
"Our hopes on the prophets to rescue the boy seem to have been in vain. They cleansed some homesteads saying it was a preparatory mission for the rescue of the boy but now they are saying they can only rescue the boy after being granted access to the homestead where he disappeared from.
"They are now saying they are waiting for the return of the granny who was left with the child the day he disappeared to come back from Bulawayo where she had gone for a relative's funeral so that they can commence their work," said Mguni.
When the news crew visited the Mhlanga family for a comment there was no one at the homestead amid reports that they were no longer entertaining visitors.