A 35-year-old man is behind bars in connection with the brutal murder of an 83-year-old woman who was burnt alive at Majuba village in Sterkspruit, Eastern Cape police said on Monday.
The woman was beaten before being set alight on Sunday, said Brig Tembinkosi Kinana.
“It is alleged that the victim was at her home when she was attacked by young men from the locality, claiming that she is responsible for the death of another young man who was buried on [Saturday] March 14,” said Kinana.
“The suspects allegedly burnt the rondavel belonging to the victim, assaulted her before they forcefully put her head inside a drum filled with water.”
The group also attacked the woman’s 23-year-old grandchild. Paraffin was poured on the woman, but the attempt to set her alight failed. She fled and is under police protection.
A case of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, arson, murder and attempted murder has been opened. By Monday afternoon, only the 35-year-old man had been charged.
Provincial commissioner Lt-Gen Liziwe Ntshinga said a team of seasoned detectives had been tasked with catching the other perpetrators.
“We condemn such brutal acts and barbaric attacks on our women, elderly and children — especially in our rural areas. No-one deserves to die in such a painful manner at the hands of heartless men accusing her of witchcraft,” she said.
“We as the provincial police cannot tolerate such disrespect for human life, the rule of law and supremacy of our constitution, including basic human rights.”