Education department to probe 'witchcraft' murders

The KwaZulu-Natal department of education has sent a ward manager to Manhlenga High School to investigate a report that its pupils were suspected of setting two women alight over a witchcraft claim.

“We have sent a ward manager to the school to investigate the matter. But if it is true, it’s absolutely terrible and action should be taken against those responsible,” said education department spokesperson Christie Naude.

Police spokesperson Captain Jabulani Mdletshe said a huge group of youths had dragged the 60-year-old women—Mangubane Msaba Zungu and Qibile Thabitha Thusi—from their home to a local sports field.

There, they doused them with petrol and set them alight. Zungu died at the scene and Thusi later died at hospital.

Mangezi police believe this was an attempt by pupils to rid their school of evil spirits.

Mdletshe said pupils from the school in Manguzi near Kosi Bay had started “acting strangely” since August 17.

“Many of the pupils started crying for no apparent reason.
Some claimed they wanted meat during their crying,” he said.

They believed that an evil spirit had possessed them.

“There was apparently a few meetings held by the pupils to discuss the matter. At one of the meetings, it was allegedly suggested that two women may have bewitched the school,” he said.

“We are investigating the pupils but no arrests have been made as yet. We will also be speaking to the school management,” said Mdletshe.

Naude, meanwhile, said she could not comment further until she received feedback from the school. - Sapa

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