THEY heard that a man in the area was involved in witchcraft.
So residents, along with an Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) councillor, decided to take the law into their own hands.
They went to the 30-year-old man’s house in Entabeniyezulu village in Nongoma, Northern KZN, and gave him the beating of his life.
But they didn’t stop there. The group of men allegedly tied a rope around the man’s neck and pulled him up on a tree.
They demanded he reveal the people he worked with, as well as the houses where he planted muthi.
A video of the incident, which happened last week, circulated on social media, but it’s not clear who recorded it.
In the video, a man dressed in a blue jacket, grey trousers, stripped T-shirt and black boots can be seen with a rope around his neck.
A voice is then heard saying: “Khuluma ungakuphi wafakwa ubani (Speak. Where is it and who put it there?).
“Sikhathele uwena (We are tired of you).”
The men then try to pull the rope into the tree while the victim struggles to hold on.
A resident told Daily Sun the man they tried to hang didn’t die.
“They demanded that he show them the houses he had placed muthi at.
“They also demanded he tell them who he worked with.
“The group then took him to another house, where they found another man, whom they also beat up,” said the resident.
The resident said the group accused both men of witchcraft.
“It’s very sad because even the councillor was involved.
“A councillor should help cops enforce the law, not to take it in his own hands,” said the resident.
Another resident said the councillor should have protected the man instead of getting involved in the incident.
Following the incident, the councillor and eight other suspects were arrested on Wednesday.
Police spokeswoman Captain Nqobile Gwala said Nongoma cops were investigating a case of attempted murder.
Gwala said a 30-year-old man was allegedly severely assaulted by known suspects.
“A total of nine suspects aged between 18 and 33 were arrested. They appeared in the Nongoma Magistrates Court on 3 September. The matter was remanded to today,” said Gwala.
Thandonjani Hlongwane, chairman of KZN Traditional Healers Association, said residents shouldn’t beat up people they suspected of witchcraft.
He said they should rather take them to the nearest traditional healer to find out if that person really bewitched people.
“The traditional healer will help them by proving if that person uses bad muthi or not. A lot of innocent people have been accused of witchcraft and killed,” he said.
Hlongwane said that they should also provide proof of the bewitching muthi the person uses.
Meanwhile, IFP Member of Parliament and national spokesman, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, said the party was not aware of the matter.
“We are only hearing about it today. But our structures in the area will investigate,” said Hlengwa.