‘We don’t need these tent services now’
24 July 2012, page 3, Isolezwe
Reporting from Pietermaritzburg
The community of Sweetwaters near Pietermaritzburg wants to put a stop to ‘tent services’ in their area because it believes that these arrive with corrupted priests.
Yesterday in the court in Pietermaritzburg, members of the community protested in great numbers against the bail request of Mzokhona Sibisi (32), who is accused of murdering a 12 year old girl, claiming that he was praying over her in order to heal her of her demonic possession.
This incident has left the family of Ayanda Sibiya (12) completely stunned, as parts of her body were cut out and she was bound hand and foot with a rope. The community, led by the councillor for the area, Mr Simon Sokhela, as well as members of the ANC Women’s League Moses Mabhida Region, arrived to hear about the case of this ‘faith-healer’, saying that he was playing with religion because he wanted to achieve his own intentions.
Ms Zanele Ngcobo told Isolezwe that, in her opinion, these ‘tent services’ should be stopped.
“We no longer need these tents in this community. We are getting tired of people who hide behind religion but are actually corrupted. People should preach to their own people, because we see them just suddenly springing up in their tents with their spirits so high that we think they are great Christians, even though they are actually criminals,” said Ms Ngcobo.
According to Ayanda’s family, Sibisi (the accused) arrived in Sweetwaters with a ‘tent service’. He found out about Ayanda’s sickness ‘of the demons’ and then asked to pray over her. His relationship with the family grew because they thought that she was saved and that he was helping them.
Ayanda’s family was in court for the first time since Sibisi first appeared on July 9.
Ms Sizani Sibiya, the aunt of Ayanda, said that they were not convinced that Sibisi was the one who had killed Ayanda, before he had written them a letter confessing to the crime.
“We were actually even wanting to get him out of jail, when he was first arrested. He was like a father to Ayanda, and he used to take her out to eat. There was nothing that he wouldn’t have done for her. What stopped us thinking like this was when he wrote us a letter saying that he confessed to the crime. How could he confess to a crime if he didn’t know about it?” Asked Ms Sibiya, crying in anger.
She said that in this letter he said that he confessed to the crime because he was being greatly harassed by the police, and he said that even if someone hadn’t yet been arrested it was okay as long as someone was arrested for his friend Ayanda.
Councillor Sokhela said that this matter was extremely disturbing to them as the community because this ‘faith-healer’ was now wanting others to be arrested who had not been involved in the case.
Sibisi was returned to jail in order to obtain a lawyer, as he said that he had not been able to communicate with his family since he was arrested.
The case will return to court on July 30.