Sangomas say the gruesome removal of human eyes is a foreign practice and not a local muti ritual.
This after two murder victims – both with their eyes gouged out – were found in Cape Town in the past week; one a little girl and the other a young mother.
On Sunday afternoon the body of five-year-old Minentle Lekhakha, who went missing the day before, was found under a bridge along Broadway Soek Street, in Nomzamo, Strand.
Minentle was in the care of her auntie, and was dressed in her pyjamas when she vanished without a trace just after 2pm, while playing with her friends in the street.
The little girl lived with her grandmother Thelma Bomela, 50, who was at work at the time.
Thelma says they searched for hours and reported the child missing to police.
“A man in the community says she was walking with another lady, in another street at Zola,” she says.
Twenty-four hours later, Thelma received a chilling phone call from a stranger advising her to look under the bridge.
Minentle’s mother Tandisiwe Lekhakha, 23, was at Khayelitsha police station at the time.
The little girl’s body was identified by her father.
Her family fears she may have been raped before her eyes were gouged out.
Gogo Kheswa, a sangoma from Nyanga, says she makes her muti using herbs.
“This is a new thing. South African sangomas do not use this,” she says.
“It derives from foreign national who promise business people, to make their business prosper, using body parts to make them rich.
“It is making it hard for us because people do not trust us, they think we are all the same.
“I am a Zionist, I go to church and I would never be part of something like that, we use herbs for our muti.”
Last week the body of Langa mom of two, Unathi Booi, 33, was found dumped in rubbish in Nyanga.
A 42-year-old suspect has since been arrested.
A broken-hearted Thandisiwe said on Monday they want answers.
“The police didn’t say much. They were not the ones who found her. Her grandmother had a call from a stranger, she didn’t know the number,” she says.
“The caller said there is a child under the bridge here in Broadlands (next to Nonzamo).
“I couldn’t go to the scene at the bridge, her father went to be sure.”
Minentle, a Grade R pupil at ACJ Phakade Primary School in Nomzamo, was found on Sunday, the last day of Child Protection Week.
Social Development MEC Albert Fritz condemned the latest child killing.
On 13 May, Courtney Pieters, 3, of Elsies River was found buried in a shallow grave in Epping, nine days after she went missing from her home.
Mortimer Saunders, 40, has been arrested for her murder and rape.
“The gruesome circumstances of this case, where it is said that the child’s eyes were gouged out, is ominously reminiscent of another recent case of the murder of 33-year old, Unathi Booi,” said Fritz.
“I am appealing to the South African Police Service to conduct a thorough investigation, and to make arrests as soon as possible.”
Police spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk says a post-mortem will be conducted to determine the cause of Minentle’s death.