Two suspects who were arrested in connection with the murder of Jostina Sangweni, a 57 year-old woman from Soweto, are appearing in the Protea Magistrate Court Monday, 12 April 2021.

Sangweni, who is believed to be mentally-ill, was set alight in the previous week after she was accused of witchcraft and attacked by an angry mob. Sangweni was then admitted to hospital where she later died. It was learnt that she had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

The two suspects, aged 27 and 28, were handcuffed in Mapetla on Friday, 9 April 2021.

“Following the concerted efforts of the SAPS to not only apprehend the perpetrators behind the murder of Ms Jostina Sangweni, but to also ensure that cases against the suspects are watertight towards a successful prosecution, police on Friday 09 April 2021 arrested two suspects in Mapetla,” spokesperson Mathapelo Peters said in a statement.

“Gauteng Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela has welcomed the arrests and urged the investigating team to leave no stone unturned until the remaining suspects are also apprehended and brought to book”

SAPS spokesperson Mathapelo Peters

Family denies witchcraft accusations

Jostina Sangweni’s family is now seeking justice for her death and further denied allegations made by community members that she practices witchcraft, a claim which is said to have spurred the attacks against her.

According to The Citizen, Sangweni’s family had taken her to a traditional healer’s home, but she wandered off and was later reported missing.

“A couple of weeks after the diagnosis she was still getting worse and one of the elders in the family suggested that she should be taken to a traditional healer,” a family member is quoted as saying.

She is believed to have ended up in a house to seek help, but was eventually beaten up by community members.

The Commission for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities has condemned the assault and will be investigating it.

“We strongly condemn senseless attacks on women who get labelled as witches and eventually killed, allegedly for being involved in witchcraft,” said the CRL Commission’s Professor Luka David Mosoma.

“As the CRL Rights Commission, we believe that regardless of the motives of the assailants who committed this heinous crime, there can never be any justifiable reason whatsoever for anyone to attack someone or burn them when they plead for help”

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Presh JM Reporter

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