KWAZULU-NATAL Social Development MEC, Mrs Nonhlanhla Khoza, has noted with shock and dismay the attack on a senior citizen in the area of KwaMpumuza in Pietermaritzburg on the midlands, by a group of people accusing her of witchcraft.
A pensioner in her 70s was allegedly attacked by members of the community, who burnt down her home, accusing her of being behind a number of deaths in the community by using muthi.
It is believed that the older person narrowly escaped the attack, leaving behind all her belongings, which were torched.
Currently, the older person is in hiding in an undisclosed location. All her belongings were destroyed and she now relies on donations from good samaritans.
“It is very painful to learn that communities continue to treat our senior citizens this way. The myth that an older person who stays alone is involved in witchcraft has led to the death of a number of people in our communities. Despite several attempts to warn our communities about this myth, we still witness such attacks directed at most vulnerable older persons,” said MEC Khoza.
We believe that the law should take its course by ensuring that all those involved in such a despicable act get arrested immediately, she added.
MEC Khoza said the criminal justice system should start to bite in such cases where older person’s properties get destroyed.
“We call upon all members of the public to refrain from abusing older persons, accusing them of witchcraft. Equally, we urge the community of KwaMpumuza to co-operate with law enforcement agencies and expose masterminds in this matter. We are not going to rest until people who violate the rights of the most vulnerable groups get arrested and pay for their sins. We have experienced a number of such horrible cases in our province and we have to all stand up to fight against such behaviour,” added MEC Khoza.
The Department has been in the length and breadth of the province campaigning for the end of gender-based violence and abuse of older persons in our communities.
“We will continue to campaign to mobilise communities to stand together in defense of our senior citizens. Our older citizens should be protected by all of us because they continue to play a big role in our lives as they are a fountain of knowledge, including how to raise children. Therefore, we cannot allow our freedom to be threatened by criminals who continue preying on older persons.”
A team of social workers has also been sent to meet with the older person and ensure that all her documents to access her social grants are up to date. She will also be assessed and provided with psycho-social support.
ISSUED BY KWAZULU-NATAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT