MARAPONG — Around 500 community members of Marapong gathered at the house of a family in Marapong that was accused of practicing witchcraft. They assaulted an elderly man and woman after which they threatened to burn them to death.
According to Colonel Daniel Ramakgoakgoa, Lephalale Police Station Commander, he received a call on Wednesday 15 August to attend to a case in Marapong where a woman, whose 16-year-old daughter went missing in December 2017, alleged she saw her daughter, wearing an orange top, in the house of the two elderly people. She then accused them of stealing her daughter and practising witchcraft.
Col Ramakgoakgoa said the case for her missing daughter isn’t closed yet as she may still be found, but the mother is traumatised due to the uncertainty around her daughter’s disappearance.
Col Ramakgoakgoa and his team searched the whole house and premises, reassuring her that it was not her daughter and that the mentioned family wasn’t practising witchcraft and that she should go home. “We warned her to stop spreading the story before we left,” Col Ramakgoakgoa said.
According to information, she made alarm after the police left. She started to scream, accusing the man and his wife of transforming her daughter into a “zombie”.
That is when around 500 community members started rioting in the street, assaulting the man and woman. They also targeted a spaza shop in the same yard, stealing the stock from the shop and claiming that the girl may be kept there.
The police dispersed the crowd with tear-gas and rubber bullets and the two elderly people were taken to Ellisras Provincial Hospital for treatment.
By the time of going to print, the elderly couple was released from hospital and they and their five children were taken to a safe place in Polokwane.
According to Col Ramakgoakgoa, seven suspects were identified and arrested for assault with the intention of committing grievous bodily harm (GBH) and theft.