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Pretoria - Three siblings who left the body of their father to rot for two weeks, on Wednesday pleaded in the Atteridgeville Magistrate’s Court to release them so they could bury “their beloved father”.
The trio are facing charges of murder, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice, after they allegedly locked up their two nephews and father in a tiny room for two years, claiming they acted out the commands of the Holy Spirit. A crowd of community members descended on Court C as the accused took to the dock on Wednesday.
They said they had gathered to find out the truth about what happened at the Malatji house, and that the rumours of witchcraft bothered them.
State Prosecutor Vuyo Lutywantsi downplayed the request by the accused to be released in order to bury their father. Lutywantsi asked how they could claim to want to bury the very man they were accused of murdering and concealing his body.
The case was postponed for a formal bail application.
Meanwhile, their traumatised nephew Kentridge Malatji was on Wednesday left to clean the cluttered house and room of horror, from the noxious fumes, filth and flies that he had to endure for two weeks as his grandfather’s body started decomposing.
“We were condemned to this tiny room by the command of the Holy Spirit who had come to my aunt in a vision to deliver the message that we are witches and should be locked up,” Malatji said.
According to him, numerous pleas to his relatives to be rational and help, went unheeded.
Three weeks ago, his grandfather fell ill and pleas to take the elderly man to hospital also fell on deaf ears. When the man died two weeks ago, his relatives said it was magic at the hands of the witches and believed that their father would come alive again.
“They said to me that it was a lie, it was magic because we were witches, so my grandfather would come back to life. They wouldn’t believe that he was dead. I pleaded with them to let me bury him, but they refused.”
With the fumes of the decomposing body unbearable and his autistic brother biting and attacking the corpse during his violent outbursts, Malatji was driven to escape and report the matter to the police who made the gruesome discovery and arrested the three siblings.
On Wednesday, Malatji, dressed in a blue overall, held a bottle of detergent in gloved hands as he attempted to clean the house which had become unfit for human habitation. The lounge area which had been turned into a mini kitchen had a small stove with dirty pots, black at the rims.
A fridge was next to a dining room table that was piled with clothes, blankets, utilities, and rotting vegetables.
Malatji said he had no idea where he would start cleaning. The room where he was held captive still has the mattress on which his grandfather died and bodily fluids escaped on to. It is also filled with clutter and the floors and walls are black and stained. The bathroom the family used resembles something from a horror movie. “I have no one else to help me so I have to do it myself,” said a bewildered Malatji.
He said he was not okay and that the incidents and media attention were starting to take their toll on him. “I will seek psychological help but I first need to sort out the house, and my brother, and make a plan for my grandfather’s funeral.”
A priest from the Saulsville Methodist Church and a member of the congregation on Wednesday visited the house and erupted in loud prayer and songs of praise.
Two men, one of whom is believed to be a relative of Malatji, also visited the house on Wednesday afternoon. They refused to speak to the Pretoria News as they entered the house. A few minutes later, Malatji emerged and said he could no longer speak to the media as he had been instructed by his elders not to.