The seven men arrested after a sangoma was murdered in a case of mob justice, and another man seriously assaulted, appeared in the Chatsworth Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, KwaZulu-Natal police said.

The case was postponed to January 10 for further investigation, and the seven would remain in custody until then, spokeswoman Lieutenant-Colonel Danelia Veldhuizen said.

According to Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge the men allegedly stoned a 37-year-old sangoma, Philisiwe Macoba, to death around 1pm on December 20, in front of a crowd of 500 people.

They had accused her of involvement in the disappearance of a two-year-old girl from Welbedacht East, Chatsworth, on December 18. The child's mother visited Macoba on December 19 after a rumour implicated her in the child's disappearance. Macoba denied any involvement.

On the same day, security guard Sphamandla Dwala, 22, claimed to be a prophet who could help find the child. He implicated Macoba, but as he drove around with local residents searching for the child, he jumped from the car and ran away.

On December 20, several local residents visited another sangoma in Inanda, 47km north of Chatsworth. Macoba was also present. The other sangoma said the child was at the Chatsworth police station. People visited the station around 8pm that evening but didn't find the child.

Dwala was then found severely assaulted. He was taken to Albert Luthuli hospital. Around 1pm on the same day, Macoba was stoned to death.

On December 24, Chatsworth police were contacted by the child's mother who said her child had been found and was in a place of safety. A family member had apparently taken the child without telling the mother.

Mdunge said three men were arrested on Friday evening after being identified by locals who witnessed the murder. Another four other men were arrested for the attempted murder of Dwala. – Sapa