Johannesburg - Police escorted a schoolboy arrested for the alleged murder of two Soweto schoolgirls to the crime scene on Thursday in what is believed to have been a pointing-out exercise.
The boy was still dressed in his George Khoza Secondary School uniform when he arrived in one of the convoy of four police cars in Dobsonville just after lunch.
The boy is one of two arrested after the bodies of Thandeka Moganetsi, 14, and Chwayita Rathazayo, 15, were discovered in a stretch of veld on Wednesday morning.
A woman, who witnessed the convoy arrive with a team from The Star, said:
“It is sad what these kids did. They look small. It was the devil in them… This is horrible.”
The woman, who lives in the neighbourhood, said the police had brought the other alleged accomplice with them earlier in the day.
The George Khoza Secondary School boys were arrested Thursday morning at the school after the police had received a tip-off.
Police spokesman Brigadier Neville Malila said the boys were in custody in a place of safety and could not be released into the custody of their parents as they were accused of a serious crime.
On Thursday morning, furious residents surrounded another house in Dobsonville, insisting that human bones were buried in the yard. Police found only animal bones.
Residents insisted the bones were human and were related to satanic rituals.
About 500m away from the angry residents and teachers, Thandeka’s neighbours and relatives began arriving to pay their condolences.
The teen’s great-grandmother, Elizabeth Potsanyane, told The Star that Thandeka had previously written a letter threatening to kill family members.
“She gave me the letters, demanding to go to KwaZulu-Natal to her father’s relatives. This was after I had discovered that money was missing in my bank cards.
“She had withdrawn at least R15 000 from my bank account dating back from February last year,” she said.
She added that the reason she did not have a cellphone was because Thandeka had stolen it and sold it.
The 77-year-old described Thandeka as a “naughty girl” who was rebellious and liked being in friends’ company.
“She smoked, drank alcohol and partied a lot. She wouldn’t listen when she was reprimanded.
“She didn’t like it when she was given orders. She told me she wanted to go because she was treated well by her friend’s family.
“I told her I wouldn’t have any objections if she moved out. I told her it was her choice, and that if she really left, then she must not return,” Potsanyane said.
On Wednesday, Potsanyane went to identify Thandeka’s body at the Diepkloof mortuary. She said the girls wore a similar neck piece.
The family said Thandeka had a tattoo on her arm that they believed was linked to Satanism.
‘Don’t blame Satanism for violence’
Dr Chaundré Gould, a senior researcher from the Institute for Security Studies, has warned against using Satanism as a scapegoat for violent crimes.
“Even if it’s found there is some kind of religious angle to this, and there is no reason to believe this is the case, there is no reason to believe that similar crimes will follow,” she said.
In an online document written by the Alternate Religions & Subcultures Demystification Project, titled “Satanism: The Acid Test”, Satanism is often used as a scapegoat or a blanket excuse for violent crimes in South Africa.
“Satanism as a religion is very widely misunderstood by the general public, who are broadly ignorant of the various differences between the factions within Satanism as a religion,” the document reads.
“It is simply not accurate or reasonable to place the blame for such acts on the entire religion and all those who identify with it as is being done with Satanism.”
It goes on to explain that there are at least five distinct groupings under the umbrella of Satanism, with varying practices and beliefs.
“In most cases, crimes committed by individuals have absolutely nothing to do with the religion of the individual – if it were true, news headlines would read something like ‘Christian goes on the rampage’.”
The document also lists items commonly linked to Satanism, such as black candles.
“A big problem with general, broad and unfocused allegations such as these is the detail that ordinary household items, any number of which can be found in any average household, are being connected unrealistically to ‘Satanism’ or ‘occult practice’.”