Durban - Five foreigners claim they endured three nights of torture at an abandoned house in KwaMashu at the hands of several men who demanded the return of R310 000 allegedly taken by a local faith healer, known as “Mama Luck”.
The five, one of whom is a woman, were allegedly beaten with a steel pipe and belt, cut with knives and tortured with hot pliers by men who drank alcohol, and smoked mandrax and whoonga in front of them.
The woman was made to take off her underwear and had her top cut off with a knife. Burning plastic was made to drip on to her thighs.
Police found the five blindfolded in a car in the middle of the road in KwaMashu on Sunday morning.
Spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said a case of kidnapping was being investigated and two men had been arrested. “The suspects were demanding their money after they were robbed. The victims were later released and suspects were arrested last night (Wednesday) at KwaMashu,” he said on Thursday.
“The suspects, aged 36 and 42, are due to appear in the Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court soon.”
One of the alleged victims, who requested anonymity, spoke to the Daily News outside a local police station. He said his job was handing out pamphlets with Mama Luck’s name on them, on the streets of KwaMashu.
He said he was hired by a man known to him only as “Shortie” who was often with Mama Luck at her offices in KwaMashu.
He said he was lured into a car by three men last Thursday under the pretence of wanting to be taken to Mama Luck. But when they got to the office it was empty and there was an angry mob of about 20 people outside.
“They demanded to know where the doctor (Mama Luck) was and told me they wanted their money and that they would kill me. When I asked about the money, telling them I didn’t know anything about it they said I would know by the end of the day.”
The man, who still appeared to be in pain from his injuries, said he was taken to a house in KwaMashu where he saw two other captives, a woman and a man, both foreigners.
He said the man was a faith doctor, known as Baba Rashedi, who had offices elsewhere in KwaMashu and that the woman accompanied clients to Mama Luck’s office.
The man said his attackers demanded their father’s R310 000 from Mama Luck.
In the house, he saw two other men whom he knew from the train station where he had handed out pamphlets.
“There was no electricity in the house so they lit candles at night. There was a lot of suffering that first night. They burnt us with plastic, they threatened to put a knife inside the woman’s private part. They held the pliers over the burning candle and put these on my finger,” he said. He said the men took shifts torturing them and they insisted he knew where Mama Luck and the R310 000 could be found.
“Another group of guys smoked drugs from the neck of a bottle – they were white tablets, green tablets, black tablets that they mixed with cigarettes and another powdery drug,” he said.
The man said they were each asked to phone a friend who could deliver any sum of money for their freedom.
“Baba Rashedi’s car was there and the men said his friend who is going to bring the cash should bring the car’s log book as well. As we each spoke to people they beat us, saying that the people on the other end needed to hear that they were serious.”
He said the torture carried on until the early hours of Sunday morning, with the woman being taken to another room on Thursday night. “I could hear her screaming, ‘please don’t, don’t rape me’,” said the man.
Rashedi said he had stopped at a garage in KwaMashu in his Fiat to purchase something when he was approached by four men who abducted him.
“They came up to me swearing. They then grabbed me and shoved me into their car while one guy drove my car. They took me to the house where I was held hostage.”
Rashedi said he was sure he was going to die and was shocked – and grateful – when the men left him and the others blindfolded in his vehicle in KwaMashu.