Ngcobo community holds a cleansing ceremony

The accused killers are members of the Seven Angels Ministry in Nyanga Village not far from Engcobo. Photo by Mbulelo Sisulu

A cleansing ceremony was held over the weekend to help the community heal after the murders at Ngcobo police station and the police’s retaliatory assault on the Seven Angels Ministry.

Ngcobo, Eastern Cape, South Africa

The Eastern Cape SAPS in close partnership with the office of Transport, Safety and Liaison MEC Weziwe Tikana held a cleansing ceremony over the weekend at the site previously occupied by the Seven Angels Ministry. Five police officers were callously murdered while on duty allegedly by members of the Seven Angels Ministry on 21 February 2018.

Church leaders from different churches, traditional healers and leaders, politicians and people from different villages came in large numbers to the ceremony of cleansing.

The ceremony was divided in two: Saturday 17 March was given to traditional healers to perform their rituals, and Sunday to a Christian service.

Masivumelane Magqirha aseNgcobo, an organisation representing traditional healers in the area said they were invited by government asking them to be part of the cleansing. Their chairperson, Zanendyebo Maramncwa explained: “On Saturday we started at the police station then after that we went to the road where other police officers were killed. At the police station and on the road we practiced our rituals. After that we went near the home of Mancoba where we built a tent. Then we slaughtered a black goat to dismiss bad things that happened. We did not eat that black goat. We took it and threw it in that mountain that used to have writings from Mancoba. Then after that we slaughtered the white goat [to clean] us after we performed that ritual so we ate the meat of the white goat. As the witchdoctors of this area we are saying this Mancoba family was just generating money. We do not take it as a church.”

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The South African Council of Churches’ Rev Malusi Keto said they were there to close the chapter of violence that burst open in Ngcobo. “What happened in this area is very bad. So as the Council of Churches we are going to investigate all the churches that are suspicious of doing wrong things. We are very happy that God showed us that this Mancoba Ministry is doing wrong things. So as the Council of Churches we do not take Mancoba Ministry as a church. We are saying it must be closed,” he said.

The father of the late Kuhle Mateta, Bulelani Mateta (62) said the cleansing ceremony was one of the ways that will help them heal.

Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner Lt General, Liziwe Ntshinga credited the establishment of a multi-disciplinary task team, of seasoned and experienced detectives to handle the investigation for the arrests and recovery of firearms. “The sleepless nights and continuous search for clues resulted in the arrest of a number of suspects linked to the attack. The investigation is still unfolding and several suspects are appearing in court for this attack on the officers of the law,” she said.

All church members who have not been positively linked to criminal activities were taken back to their families. The Hawks are handling the case working closely with the Department of Social Development.

The detectives have collected evidence from the crime scenes and the broken  windows and damage to the police station have been repaired. Commissioner Ntshinga indicated that to secure the police station, they are erecting a ‘middling gate’, an outer perimeter of the police station where people will be cleared before reaching the building. “At night we are going to close all our gates, before you get in you are going to be screened. When you visit the police station you have to ring the bell. We are going to apply for cameras,” she said.

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Family members of the murdered policemen. Photo by Mbulelo Sisulu

 

 

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