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Three arrested in North West for kidnapping and killing a shepherd, torching traditional healer's house

The house of a traditional healer accused of having a hand in the murder of local chief in Matshepe. Picture: SAPS

The house of a traditional healer accused of having a hand in the murder of local chief in Matshepe. Picture: SAPS

Published Oct 4, 2023


Three men were arrested in connection with the murder and violence that erupted in Matshepe village outside Mahikeng in the North West are due to appear in court on Thursday.

Ontlametse Masibi, 24, Itumeleng Lehulere, 37, and Mokgatle Sejake, 40, were arrested on September 27 for kidnapping, murder, arson, and malicious damage to property.

They appeared in the Molopo Magistrate's Court in Mmabatho on September 28; their case was postponed to October 5 for formal bail application.

"It is alleged that the suspects kidnapped Kabelo Majoro on Thursday, 29 June this year.

Majoro, who was accused of stock theft, was found dead the following day near to Magojane farm," said North West police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone.

He said the three were further linked with the violence, which flared up in Matshepe in August.

"During the incident, several houses, including those used for training and consultations by traditional healers as well as two vehicles were set alight. The third vehicle was damaged.

The car of a traditional healer accused of having a hand in the murder of local chief in Matshepe. Picture: SAPS

"The incidents, with the exception of the kidnapping and murder, occurred after the callous murder of Chief Gopane Phillip Motuba."

Brigadier Mokgwabone said no arrest has been made in connection with the murder of Motuba, and the investigation into the murder continues.

Motuba, 65, was allegedly robbed and killed by two unknown men who entered his house through an unlocked front door at about 4.30am on August 26.

Villagers reportedly torched traditional healer Thabo Mosupa's house in an apparent revenge attack, as they suspected him of having a hand in the death of the chief.

Mosupa suspected his house was looted before it was torched on August 28.

He told IOL that his house and cars were burned down because he offered Kabelo Majoro, a Lesotho national place of safety on June 29 when a group of villagers chased him, baying for his blood, they accused him of stealing cattle.

"The Mosotho man was chased by a group of people armed with dangerous weapons. I refused to hand him over to them. I told them I will only hand him over to the police or kgosi (chief).

"There are two chiefs in the village; the group told me Kgosi Motuba was the relevant one as he knew about the alleged theft of cattle."

Mosupa said he left with Majoro to hand him to Kgosi Motuba because the police were taking a long time to arrive.

On the way to Kgosi Motuba, he met two police officers, and handed him over to them.

He went to Kgosi Motuba with the police officers to tell him that he had handed Majoro to the police.

"Kgpsi Motuba was not home, but we managed to talk to him over the phone, and we left."

He said he later learned that the Majoro ended up in the hands of villagers he identified as "patrollers".

"The group killed him. His body was found in a field."