Durban — The KwaZulu-Natal Traditional Healers Association has welcomed Police Minister Bheki Cele’s suggestion of joint discussions about the ritual cleansing that some healers perform for hitmen.
Ten family members in Pietermaritzburg were gunned down last month, and police found the alleged hitmen with a traditional healer, who was about to perform a cleansing ritual for them.
Cele told broadcaster eNCA that criminals often go to healers for protection before and after committing crimes. Cele suggested a meeting between himself and traditional healers be held on the issue, while attending the mass funeral of the victims in Pietermaritzburg at the weekend.
Thandanjani Hlongwane, the chairperson of the association, welcomed Cele’s suggestion.
He said the reason people wanted to perform a cleansing ritual after killing someone was because they did not want the deceased’s spirit to bring them misfortune. Another reason was that they did not want the spirit of the deceased to follow them.
Hlongwane said often healers were not told the truth by people seeking their assistance. He said healers should call the police when someone sought cleansing after a killing.
“There is a lot of crime and we know that some healers perform these rituals knowing very well that a person has killed someone. This is why we would also suggest that we sign an agreement with the government that as the association we are able to report people whom we suspect are doing this,” explained Hlongwane.
The former chairperson of the association, Sazi Mhlongo, said there were those who were witches and those who were healers. He predicted that it would not be easy for Cele to get all these people under one roof.
“The people who are truly healers will not want to be in the same place as those who are performing all these dark rituals,” explained Mhlongo.
He compared healers who perform these types of rituals to those who perpetuate crime.
“Real healers do not even go to funerals because they do not associate with death. If a healer had gone to a funeral he would have to come back and cleanse. Healers pray to God and the ancestors,” he said.
Another traditional healer, Nhlanhla Cele, said they had wanted to meet the police for some time but their efforts were not successful. He said they would be delighted to sit down with Cele and discuss this issue.
“Our job is to heal people. The healers who perform cleansing for hitmen are the ones who are giving us a bad name. There are a lot of issues that we would like to discuss with Cele,” he said.
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