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Woman, 79, is beaten up for being a 'witch'

Pretoria - An elderly mentally challenged woman is in hospital with serious injuries after being attacked by a mob of men who branded her a “witch” in Klipgat, north-west of the city.

In the early hours of Saturday, the 79-year-old was assaulted for suspected witchcraft after being found sweeping a street. She is recovering at Odi Community Hospital.

Martha Seduta with her neighbour Maria Mashiya talk about how her sister Johanna Seduta was assaulted by a group of men who accused her of being a witch in Klipgat. Picture: Oupa Mokoena. Credit: PRETORIA NEWS

Her sister Martha Seduta, 60, said Johanna Seduta started behaving strangely as she grew older, lately developing a habit of sweeping the street. “She sweeps every day. We decided to leave her be since she was not harming anyone,” she said.

Martha said she was attending a funeral in Winterveldt and returned to the news that her sister had been brutally assaulted by a gang of men.

“I visited her in hospital and she is still swollen and green all over her face and body. She can speak, but every time a man is around, she says he is the person who hit her with a brick, bottle or belt. It’s painful seeing her so badly beaten up and swollen. They ripped off her clothing her blouse, ski-pants, skirt and head wrap and left her naked,” she said.

Neighbour Maria Mashiya said she was woken up by the elderly woman’s screams at about 4.40am and saw a group of men huddled around Seduta.

“I wish I could have done more to help her because she is such a harmless person. She did not deserve what happened to her,” said Mashiya.

“I tried screaming for her grandchildren to come out and help, but there were so many of those men. They kept swearing at her grandson and dared him to get out so they could beat him up as well.”

Martha said neighbours who saw the men said they had been at the tavern nearby when they stumbled across Seduta.

They said they were convinced the attackers were not from the area, as everyone in the vicinity knew she was harmless and spent her time sweeping streets around the community.

Family said they had not been able to open a case of assault because no one knew where the men came from.

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