20 Jun 2012 Isolezwe page 11
The Minister of Community Development in KwaZulu-Natal, Mrs Weziwe Thusi, has criticised an incident in which an old woman from Thobothini in Ngwavuma was burnt, together with her grandchildren, at the weekend.
Mrs Thokozile Tembe (72), and her grandchildren Slindile Mnguni (11) and Spesihle Nyawo (3) were burnt to ashes in the house in which they were sleeping.
The daughter of Mrs Tembe, Miss Fikile Mnguni, told Isolezwe after the incident that her mother was a person who liked traditional medicines, and that there were people who accused her of committing witchcraft in the area.
She said that there was nobody who could support this who had come to them or who had gone to the induna of the area to speak about this matter, but it was something which was talked about in the area – and it is for this reason that they suspect that her mother was burnt by people.
Minister Thusi said that it is unfortunate that people are still continuing to lose their lives in this manner.
“Cold blooded murder of old people and children is needless. The government does everything in its power to raise awareness among people about the abuse of old people, but it is clear that we must try harder than before because it is apparent that people do not hear the message that we are putting out publicly,” said Mrs Thusi.
She said that she urges community members to learn about the different situations which afflict older people when they are aged, and which cause them to do things which they would not normally do such as being continually confused and not knowing where they are.
“Two weeks ago an older woman was found just wandering around in the Pietermaritzburg city centre, who was brought to my office. When she was questioned it was discovered that she had come to town with her son, that they had lost each other, and that she did not know where she was. Does this then mean that she’s committing witchcraft? We must fight against this kind of abuse,” explained Mrs Thusi.
The police are investigating a case of murder and arson.