100
An explanatory study on perceptions of factors influencing muthi killings in Butterworth, Eastern Cape By Sinovuyo Belu (201003209) Submitted In Accordance With Fulfillment Of The Requirements For The Degree Of: MASTERS IN CRIMINOLOGY At UNIVERSITY OF FORT HARE SUPERVISOR: Dr. E.K. SIBANYONI JANUARY 2019

An explanatory study on perceptions of factors influencing muthi

Embed Size (px)

Citation preview

An explanatory study on perceptions of factors influencing muthi killings in Butterworth, Eastern Cape

By

Sinovuyo Belu

(201003209)

Submitted In Accordance With Fulfillment Of The Requirements For The Degree Of:

MASTERS IN CRIMINOLOGY

At

UNIVERSITY OF FORT HARE

SUPERVISOR: Dr. E.K. SIBANYONI

JANUARY 2019

i

DECLARATION I, Sinovuyo Belu (Student Number: 201003209), hereby declare that this dissertation is

the result of my own research and has not been submitted in part or in full time for any

other degree for assessment purpose.

Signature Date

………………………….. ……………………………..

ii

DEDICATION This dissertation is dedicated to my late grandmother, Fezeka MaJ Pricilla Jacobs, these

are the fruits of your teachings Mamngqosini.

iii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Firstly I would like to express my sincere heartfelt gratitude to the heavenly God for

completion of this study. Secondly, I would like to exhibit a gesture of appreciation to my

supervisor, Dr. E.K Sibanyoni, for believing in me, for encouragement and guidance.

Without him this study would have not been completed, God bless you Mkhuluwa.

My Mother (Sis Namhla): Thank you Mama for the good upbringing and parental

guidance, for your prayers and motivation. You might have not obtained any qualification

for reasons known to both of us however this is for you Magaba.

Belu, Tyatya and Jacobs Families: I owe my being to you all, thank you for your

presence into mylife. My two brothers Siyabonga and Khanya, Uncle Msingathi, Mhleli,

Mimi, Makie NoK and all my cousins. I have made it to make you proud. Thank you for

your support.

My Friends: Qhamaninande “Qhama’’ Ntsomi’ and Balisa Mhambiyou are leading a huge

detachment of my friends from home Zwelitsha, Alice and Mdantsane you guys have

been so inspirational in my academic life. Thank you very much for your motivations,

NIHLALA NISIZA!!!

This is indeed my blood, sweat and tears.

iv

EDITOR’S LETTER

v

ABSTRACT

This study is premised on explaining perceptions of Nkcunkcuzo and Tholenicommunity

members towards factors influencing muthi killings in Butterworth, Eastern Cape (E.C.).

The villagers of the two selected areas have recently experienced number of incidents. It

is against this background that this study sought to establish the explanations by soliciting

direct experiences of community members on incidences of muthi killings.A plethora of

research projects have been previously conducted to understand this phenomenon with

the Criminal Justice System (CJS) having its own perspective regarding the muthi killings.

However, the researcher deemed it imperative to have explanations of community

members’ perceptions of the related factors thereof.

The objectives that guided this study mainly included: (1) to establish the explanations of

Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo community members on the factors that influence muthi

murders, (2) to determine why people in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo commit muthi murders

and (3) to illustrate the medus operandi of muthi murderers in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo.

The qualitative research methodology was employed in the study. Purposive sampling

was used in the selection of selected participants and respondents of this study and data

was collected through self-administered questionnaires and conducted interviews by the

researcher.

This study established that it is rich people and politicians who are most probably reasons

for incidents of muthi murders in Etholeni and in Nkcunkcuzo. Business people want to

accumulate their wealth and get rich using muthi. The belief behind this is that when muthi

is mixed with human body parts it is bound to be strong eventually attracting more people

(customers) to the businesses owned by these people. Ultimately this leads to profit

accumulation. On the other hand, the involvement of politicians in the incidents of muthi

killings is mainly associated with maintaining political power by remaining as centres of

preference to the community members. The participants have echoed the same

sentiments on the factors that influence muthi murders in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo

villages, Butterworth in the Eastern Cape.

vi

Finally, this study recommended as follows: The Etholeni and Nkcunkcuzo community

leaders must work hand in hand with the government to establish centres where children,

older persons and people with disabilities, particularly those who are without people to

protect them, can be institutionalised in order to guarantee their safety; The chiefs of

Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzomust collaborate with the social service professionals in order to

address the issues of mistrust among community members through community

development programs; The community policing forums of Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo must

be capacitated and their knowledge strengthened by the criminal justice agencies on

muthi murders to avoid confusion about muthi murders with other different types of

murders; The government of South Africa must formulate an elementary social curriculum

on muthi killings in order to educate the villagers on the muthi killings from a criminal

justice point of view; The legislative framework must be reviewed in order to impose

harsher sentences to the muthi murderers and the accomplices thereof; There must be

social welfare organizations in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo villages in order to take care of

those children that have lost their care-givers due to muthi killings; The traditional leaders

of Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo must formulate a charter for community norms and standards

to circumvent the use and selling of drugs in the concerned communities/villages. More

research projects must be funded in order to get a full understanding of the causes of

muthi killings and to provide a word of scientific reason to the criminal justice system,

particularly as it relates to muthi killings in South Africa.

Key words: Muthi, Muthi murders/killings, rituals, Modus Operandi (MO), Victims

vii

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT ..................................................................................................................... v DECLARATION ................................................................................................................ i DEDICATION ...................................................................................................................ii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ............................................................................................... iii EDITOR’S LETTER .........................................................................................................iv TABLE OF CONTENTS ................................................................................................. vii CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL ORIENTATIONS .............................................................. 1 1.1 INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................... 1 1.2 RESEARCH PROBLEM ............................................................................................ 2 1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS ........................................................................................ 4 1.4 STUDY OBJECTIVES ............................................................................................... 5 1.5 STUDY SIGNIFICANCE ............................................................................................ 6 1.6 DEFINITION OF RELEVANT CONCEPTS ............................................................... 7 1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY ........................................................................................ 13 1.8 SAMPLE AND SAMPLING METHOD ..................................................................... 14 1.9 DATA COLLECTION ............................................................................................... 15 1.10 DATA ANALYSIS .................................................................................................. 15 1.11 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS .............................................................................. 15 1.12 SUMMARY ............................................................................................................ 17 CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW ON MUTHI KILLINGS AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORKS ............................................................................................................ 18 2.1. INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................... 18 2.2 ANALYSIS OF CASE REPORTS: INTERNATIONAL FOCUS ................................ 18 2.2.1 African perspective ............................................................................................... 18 2.3 SOUTH AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE ON MUTHI KILLINGS ..................................... 21 2.4 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK ON MUTHI KILLINGS ........................................... 31 2.4.1 Anomie Theory ..................................................................................................... 31 2.4.2.1. The application of Anomie Theory to this study ................................................ 33 2.4.2. General Strain Theory ......................................................................................... 34 2.4.2.1 Application of General Strain Theory to this study............................................. 35

viii

2.5 SUMMARY .............................................................................................................. 36 CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY .................................................... 37 3.1 INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................... 37 3.2 RESEARCH DESIGN .............................................................................................. 38 3.3 QUALITATIVE RESEARCH APPROACH ............................................................... 39 3.4 SPATIAL DELIMITATION/AREA OF THE STUDY .................................................. 41 3.5 STUDY POPULATION ............................................................................................ 42 3.6 SAMPLING METHODS AND PROCEDURES ........................................................ 42 3.7 DATA COLLECTION METHODS ............................................................................ 44 3.8 CHALLENGES ENCOUNTERED DURING DATA COLLECTION .......................... 46 3.9 DATA ANALYSIS .................................................................................................... 46 3.10 METHODS TO ENSURE TRUSTWORTHINESS ................................................. 48 3.10.1 Credibility ........................................................................................................... 48 3.10.2 Transferability ..................................................................................................... 49 3.10.3 Dependability...................................................................................................... 49 3.10.4 Conformability .................................................................................................... 50 3.11 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS .............................................................................. 50 3.12 SUMMARY ............................................................................................................ 51 CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF STUDY FINDINGS ...................................................................................................................................... 52 4.1 INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................... 52 4.2 THEME ONE: FINDINGS ON EXPLANATIONS AND PERCEPTIONS OF NKCUNKCUZO AND THOLENI COMMUNITY MEMBERS TOWARDS MUTHI KILLINGS ...................................................................................................................... 53 4.3 THEME TWO: PERPETRATORS OF MUTHI MURDERS ...................................... 56 4.4 THEME THREE: MO FOR MUTHI KILLERS IN HARVESTING HUMAN BODY PARTS .......................................................................................................................... 59 4.5 SUMMARY .............................................................................................................. 66 CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSIONS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ...... 67 5.1 INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................... 67 5.2. LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY.............................................................................. 71 5.3. WAYS OF DEALING WITH THE LIMITATIONS .................................................... 71 5.4. RESEARCH FINDINGS ......................................................................................... 72

ix

5.5. RECOMMENDATIONS .......................................................................................... 74 5.6. SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH ........................................................ 75 LIST OF TABLES

Table 1………………………………………………………………………………………..39

Table 2…………………………………………………………………………………..……49

Table 3………………………………………………………………………………..………71

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1………………………………………………………………………………………..21

Figure 2………………………………………………………………………………………..22

Figure 3………………………………………………………………………………………..43

Figure 4………………………………………………………………………………………..67

APPENDICES ............................................................................................................... 82 Appendix A: Ethical Clearance Certificate ..................................................................... 82 Appendix B: Informed Consent Letter ........................................................................... 84 Appendix C: Interview schedules .................................................................................. 86

1

CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL ORIENTATIONS

1.1 INTRODUCTION This study is the product of an empirical research that was conducted in Etholeni and

Nkcunkcuzo rural communities to curtail the muthi killings that have been occurring for

over the past few years with the intention of providing tentative recommendations.

Furthermore, the study was conducted with the intention of providing an understanding

and/or the motives for muthi killings in the Eastern Cape (E.C.). Moreover, this study also

sought to provide an insight of the modes operandi that the murders opt for to carry out

their muthi killings. For the purpose of this study, the researcher used interchangeably

the terms killing and murder to emphasise the process of body parts harvesting.

Therefore, it is imperative to provide an understanding of the inception and background

of muthi killings and thus the researcher opted to provide a detailed inception of muthi

killings.

Muthi murder is a phrase used by a lot of people but what does it mean or rather imply in

the historical and contemporary context. Fontaine (2001:21) explains that ritual is

associated with religious performance and embodied authority. Its aim is the public, the

personnel that perform it and their actions benefit those for whom it is performed. Rituals

concern the sacred and it is a truism of anthropology that also invokes the highest cultural

legitimacy, activating spiritual power, whether they be of gods, spirits or ancestors in order

to achieve a beneficent result (Fontaine, 2001). Therefore, this study is premised on the

notion that the muthi killings are a result of the influence of certain social factors. Fontaine

(2001:2) further comments that murder is immoral and illegal, it is an act carried out in

secrete that attracts a severe penalty (Fontaine, 2001). In the South African context

murder is a punishable offence. Killings have been a prominent subject of research

inquiry due to the stealthy and hidden motive behind the acts of muthi killings. Hence this

research project particularly investigates the perceptions of the local people towards the

factors that influence muthi killings or murders in Etholeni and Nkcunkcuzo

Salisbury and Robert (2012:25) argue that, despite the African Charter on Human and

Peoples’ Rights (ACHR) that provides that an individual is entitled to respect for his life

2

and integrity of his person, muthi killings and the practice of human sacrifice continue in

several African countries. These entail the hunting down, mutilation and murder of the

most vulnerable people in society, including people with disabilities, women and children.

Furthermore, Salisbury and Robert (2012) indicate that killings of this nature occur in

Nigeria, Uganda, Swaziland, Liberia, Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia and

Zimbabwe.

Salisbury (2012) substantiates the latter due to the secrecy involved in muthi killings, with

majority of these incidents going unreported and uninvestigated. Anti-sacrifice advocates

face an uphill battle in combating these acts because the practices are largely denied and

touch on cultural underpinnings, resulting in an ideological conflict between protection of

human rights and respect for the beliefs and practices of other countries (Salisbury,

2012).

The background of this study is based on the historical and contemporary incidents of

muthi killings. In this context the researcher is investigating the perceptions of the

community members towards factors influencing muthi killings.

1.2 RESEARCH PROBLEM Delport, Fouche, Strydom and deVos (2011) purport that problem formulation may serve

as an effective point of departure geared towards understanding the reasons behind

conducting a particular study. In this section, the researcher must explicitly delimit the

focus of the study and articulate the specific problem he or she wants to investigate. In

adherence to this view the main aim of this study was to provide answers to some

questions that are asked about muthi killings as influenced by the social factors, in as far

as Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni community members are concerned.

There have been a number of muthi killings that have taken place in Butterworth,

particularly in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo. Tholeni village lies along the N2 freeway, about

15kilometres (km) from Butterworth town. This village is dominant of unemployed people;

as a result most people keep livestock or odd jobs in the village or in town. Fuzi Daily

Dispatch (2008:8) in the Daily dispatch newspaper reported that a little boy by the name

of Vika and his three friends were picking wild fruit when Gwayi, in Tholeni village, who

3

had been dropped by a vehicle in the village from Willowvale, asked them to help him to

find a lost cow. As they searched, he asked them if they wanted to play a ‘killing game’.

While playing the game, Gwayi cut open Vika’s chest while he was still alive and removed

vital body parts (Daily dispatch, 08 August 2008).

Daily Dispatch (2008:8) further reported that police had made a major breakthrough in

the so-called Kei Ripper killings, which had been terrorizing residents in the Butterworth

area for the past two months. It was further reported that two suspects confessed to the

killing of Khanya Mama, whose body was found dumped at Tutura farm. His eyes, heart

and genitals were missing. On the 4th of September 2013 Fuzile, in the Daily dispatch

reported the arrest of Bulelani Mabhayi whom was referred to as ‘The Monster of Tholeni’.

According to the report Mabhayi operated in the Eastern Cape (E.C.), preying on victims

in Tholeni, a place that became known as ‘the village of death’ (Daily dispatch, 08 August

2008).

According to the TV programme Special assignment (South African Broadcasting

Corporation-SABC, 2008) since October 2008 communities around the town of

Butterworth in the Eastern Cape have been living in fear following the discovery of several

mutilated bodies. It began with the discovery of the body of a 9 year old boy whose three

friends were forced to help kill him, disembowel him with their bare hands and finally carry

his body and dump it in the river. Some villagers are claiming that the parts of the

mutilated victims are being used for muthi or traditional medicine. The killings have sown

the seeds of fear in the rural Transkie (http://www.specialassignment.etv.ht).

Historically, there have been reports on muthi killings in the media. Carstens (2003:4)

reported that during the 1990s there was a sharp increase in muthi killings in South Africa,

particularly in the Limpopo Province. These killings can be directly linked to the wide

political unrest preceding the advent of the constitutional democracy of South Africa in

1994. Startled by the brutality of these killings, a provincial commission of enquiry known

as Ralushai Commission was appointed in 1995 and the final report of the commission

was published in 1996 (Carstens, 2003:4).

4

There is an increasing trend in the occurrences of the muthi killings in Butterworth.

However the most important question to be answered is why do people commit muthi

killings, what are the explanations and perceptions of the community members on factors

that lead to people committing muthi killings? It is for this reason that the researcher used

psychological, anthropological and criminological theories and models to assess the

factors that influence the muthi killings. Roelofse (2012:11) indicated that the ritual

practice is rooted in deeply entrenched cultural belief that the outcome of events can be

influenced or some benevolent blessing such as rain or obtaining a job can be directed

by appealing to spirits who can be approached and influenced by some ritual sacrifice.

It is clear that it is not only the victims of muthi killings that are affected by the incidents

of muthi killings but the villagers and community members as well because they are

continuously living in awful fear in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo village. The villagers are

negatively impacted by the muthi killings. This is evident from the reports made in the

Daily dispatch in 2008 and 2013 as indicated above in the research problem section of

this study. These incidents have therefore triggered the researcher to conduct this study

in order to have the explanations and perceptions of the Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo villagers

towards factors that influence muthi killings, to establish why people commit muthi killings

and to finally establish the mode of operation of muthi murderers when they harvest

human body parts in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo village. The fundamental problem of this

study is the lack of knowledge on the perceptions of the people towards muthi killings and

hence the researcher sought to address this existing gap.

1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

Grinnell & Unrau (2005:79) cited in De Vos (2012) assert that in the of a qualitative study

research questions may become more concrete, more focused and narrowed and revised

as the study progresses, but a research question must be formulated as clearly and

unambiguously as possible, as early as possible in the life of a project (De Vos, 2012:92).

The study was guided by the following research questions

5

• What are the perceptions of community members on factors influencing muthi

killings in Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni, Butterworth, E.C.?

• What could be the contributory factors to muthi killings in Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni,

E.C.?

• What are common MOs of muthi murderers to harvest body parts in Nkcunkcuzo

and Tholeni, E.C.?

• How effective are the strategies employed by relevant stakeholders in responding

to muthi killings in the Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni of E.C.?

1.4 STUDY OBJECTIVES Fouche and Delport (2012: 108) assert that the goal of the study indicates the central

thrust of the study, and the objectives identify the specific issues that the research

proposes to examine. Delport and Fouche (2012) quotes Kumar (2005:193), who

postulate that the objectives of the study should be clearly stated and specific in nature

(Fouche, & Delport, 2012). The objectives of this study are in accordance with the

sentiments of the aforementioned research experts.

THE SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY ARE AS FOLLOWS:

• To evaluate perceptions on factors influencing muthi killings in Nkcunkcuzo and

Tholeni, Butterworth, E.C.

• To determine contributory factors to the escalation of muthi killings.in Nkcunckuzo

and Tholeni, Butterworth, E.C.

• To analysecommon M.Os of muthi murderers in harvesting body parts in

Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni, E.C.

• To explore the effectiveness of current strategies employed by relevant

stakeholders in responding to muthi killings in Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni, E.C.

6

1.5 STUDY SIGNIFICANCE A number of studies have been conducted on muthi killings, ritual murder, human

sacrifices, to mention but a few. Labuschagne (2004: 3) concluded that the use of muthi

is a part of some mainstream traditional African beliefs. In many respects traditional

African muthi is no different from herbal or naturopathic remedies used by people

throughout the world. The use of human body parts as an ingredient for medicines or

potions, however, is practiced by a minority of individuals but is subsequently rejected by

the majority of traditional healers and members (Laboschagne, 2004: 4). Roelofse (2010)

argue that muthi killings are instigated as a notion of egalitarianism. Furthermore, Petrus

(2007:183) comment that muthi murders are a complex issue to law enforcement

practitioner due to differing views of whether the muthi murders exist or not. On the other

hand Turrell (2001: 8) purports that the muthi killings of man are required for attainment

of extraordinary power.

The consulted literature Supra provides the anthropological, legal, socio-economical and

sociological perspective of the muthi murders. However, this study was focused on

providing the explanations and perceptions of the people that primarily experience muthi

killings. The study further provided primary reasons on why people commit muthi killings

and the mode of operation of the muthi murderers. This is evident that a meaningful

contribution has been made towards knowledge development on the phenomenon under

study. In the assertions made by authors on the subject of the research, it is clear that

people’s perceptions and explanations towards the phenomenon of muthi killings has not

been richly explored. Hence this study is entailed at capturing the first-hand experience

of local people towards the incidents of muthi killings in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo villages.

The South African Police Services will benefit on the findings and recommendations of

this study. The researcher is of the opinion that community members and traditional

authorities will certainly benefit from this study through presentations in community

forums and other relevant platforms where the researcher will be explaining findings and

recommendation of this study. Furthermore, this study will contribute towards the existing

literature on the phenomenon under study in the academic community.

7

Fouche and Delport (2012) argue that a study must contribute to knowledge, either

theoretically or methodologically. It is for this reason that the researcher is convinced that

the undertaken study has precisely contributed towards the scientific knowledge on the

conventional knowledge on muthi killings (Fouche & Delport, 2012:140).

This study contributes towards the knowledge production and exposing factors

influencing muthi killings. As far as the researcher is concerned, having reasonably

studied literature on muthi killings, a lot of studies focused on muthi killings are from a

penological perspective, however this study focused on the subject from a psychological

and victimological perspective. It is for this reason that the study is focused on making a

meaningful contribution towards the field of criminology. Punch (2005b:74), posits that

synonyms for significance might be justification, importance or contribution of the study.

The intention of this study was to provide objective research outcomes and

recommendations that sought to help even the government in the policy making process

with regards to muthi killings and also for the enactment of the relevant pieces of

legislation on muthi killings. This study sought to bring a clearer understanding on what

are muthi killings and the genesis thereof.

1.6 DEFINITION OF RELEVANT CONCEPTS In this section the researcher defined the concepts that have been used in this study. An

explicit explanation is given in this section of the study. This is intended to make sure that

the study remain unambiguous and understood by the readers. The following are the

definitions of relevant concepts.

1.6.1 Crime

According to the juridical approach, the concept of crime can be defined as following: A

crime is a violation of the law, for which the state may exact punishment (Gardiner &

Lansdown cited in Stevens and Cloete, 2013:2) in Sibanyoni (2018). Taft cited in Stevens

and Cloete (2013:2) in Sibanyoni (2018) define crime as “an act forbidden and made

punishable by law.” According to De Wet and Swanepoel ( cited in Stevens and Cloete

8

(2013:2) in Sibanyoni (2018), a crime can be defined as an unlawful activity, that is, an

act at variance with either a prohibition or an injunction, and which is punishable by the

authorities.

In their criminological dictionary, Louw et al cited in Stevens and Cloete (2013:2) in

Sibanyoni (2018:14) define a crime as a human act of which the offender is guilty, and

which is punishable by the state. From all definitions, it is clear that certain elements must

be present before behaviour can be defined as a crime. There must be an act, the act

must be unlawful, guilt must be proven and punishment must be imposed.

For many criminologists, however, the juridical definition is regarded as too narrow.

According to them, there are other forms of behaviour, not punishable by the state, but

deviating from the norms of society. In a criminological sense, they argue that these forms

of behaviour should also be considered as criminal. These criminologists thus want a

much wider definition of the crime concept in order to include all antisocial and harmful

acts (Stevens and Cloete, (2013:2) cited in Sibanyoni (2018).

In criminological sense, crime can be defined as follows:

Crime is all antisocial conduct that is in conflict with the law, or is injurious or detrimental

to the sound normal life and the survival of an individual, his next of kin and the community

(Van der Walt (1997:2) cited in Stevens and Cloete, (2013). Mannheim cited in Stevens

and Cloete, (2013:2) defines crime as antisocial behaviour. From these definitions, it is

clear that the criminological definition includes the juridical definitions but is also wide

enough to include all types of antisocial and harmful behaviours (Stevens & Cloete,

2013:2).

For the purpose of this study, the researcher adopted the criminological definition of

crime. This definition is appropriate in this study because it caters for certain antisocial

behaviours that are detrimental to the sound normal life and the survival of the victims.

1.6.2 Muthi-Murder

9

The word 'muthi' is a Zulu word meaning medicine. It is therefore a mistake to assume

that when the word muthi is used, crime is involved. Muthi murder may be loosely defined

as a murder where the intention is to gather human body parts for use in traditional African

medicine. The reason for using human body parts is that they are considered to be more

powerful than the usual ingredients or methods used by the traditional healer as they

contain the person's 'life essence'. These 'usual' ingredients may include, but are not

limited to, roots, herbs, other plant material, animal parts and seawater. Characteristically

the traditional healer would consult the ancestors to determine the cause of the problem,

and then would prescribe the treatment. The death of the victim usually occurs after the

injuries have been inflicted whilst removing the body parts. Traditionally the victim must

be alive when the body parts are removed as this increase the 'power' of the muthi

because the body parts contain the person's life essence (Minnaar, 2001:15).

According to de Jong (2015:09), ritual or muthi murder involves the practice wherein parts

of the victim’s body are removed, usually while the victim is alive, for the purpose of

making medicine to politically or economically strengthen those who use it.

For the purpose of this study, the researcher defined muthi-murder as a deliberation of

mutilating a person whilst alive with the intention to harvest his/her body parts for the

purpose of creative muthi (traditional medicine) to obtain wealth and/or fortune.

1.6.3 Muthi- Murderer

Minnaar (2001:19) provides that murderer is approached, usually by the traditional healer,

to obtain the body parts. The murderer is carefully instructed on how to remove the body

parts, and told that the victim must be alive when they are removed. The murderer then

takes the body parts directly to the traditional healer. This is the only apparent role the

murderer has. In addition, the murderer must also make sure that the victim has the

necessary qualities that the client needs and therefore he may know the victim to a greater

or lesser degree.

For the purpose of this study, the researcher defined, muthi-murderer as someone who

harvests the body parts of people whilst they are still alive with the intention to present

the body parts to the Sangoma (traditional healer) to make muthi (traditional medicine).

10

1.6.4 Ritual-Killing

According to Turrel (2009:22) the ritual killing of a human is required for the acquisition of

extraordinary power and that extraordinary power is required to win competitive

advantages in chiefly rivalries over people and land. Moreover, he defines ritual killings

as human sacrifice which is identified as the act of killing one or more humans, usually as

an offering to a deity, as part of a ritual. Human sacrifice has been practiced in various

cultures throughout history. In a society which condemns human sacrifice, the term ritual

murder is used.

For the purpose of this study, the researcher defined ritual killing as a ritual action carried

out by the killer to harvest body parts for the purpose of making umuthi (traditional

medicine) for wealth and power.

1.6.5 Victim(s)

Underwood (2003:1) cited in Sibanyoni (2018) is of the opinion that most people have a

general image of the concept of a victim. This image is often a perception of an idea

based on personal experiences and common social messages. However, when asked to

articulate a comprehensive definition or to consider variations of the concept, many

people are less than consistent. As a concept, ‘victim’ is an enigma that is difficult to

comprehend and explain (Underwood, 2003: 1) cited in Sibanyoni (2018).

Underwood (2003: 1) cited in Sibanyoni (2018) paraphrases Supreme Court Justice

Stewart Potter’s response about defining the term victim as, “victim may be something

that is difficult to define, but you know it when you see it”. Victim is a concept that may be

considered in a very broad and inclusive context or, to the other extreme; it may be

narrowly defined with conditions that limit its applicability.

Karmen (1992:2) cited in Sibanyoni (2018) is of the view that the term victim in the daily

language of the public, has a common meaning as referring to those individuals who

suffer from “some form of hardship as a result of more worldly causes” (Kennedy & Sacco,

11

1998: 4); who “experience injuries, loses, or hardships due to any cause (Karmen, 1992:

2) cited in Sibanyoni (2018:14).

Whereas Barkas (1978: 7) as cited in Scott (2006) in Sibanyoni (2018) defines a victim

as one who has directly or indirectly suffered because of a specific illegal action, to which

Fattah (1992: 58) adds that the violation must be deliberate in nature. Verwey (1994: 19)

as cited in Scott (2006: 26) in Sibanyoni (2018) is of the opinion that the term victim

applies not only to injured parties, but also to those not injured and who suffer no

deprivation. A victim is therefore determined by referring to the offender’s viewpoint and

is the person whom the offender wishes to damage, thinks he is damaging or actually

does damage to them. Whereas Underwood (2003: 8) cited in Sibanyoni (2018) states

that victim is a sociological concept, a status given to a member of society who has

experienced an act or event.

Van der Walt (1997: 34) (in Scott 2001) distinguishes between two types of victims as

follows: The active victim who contributed to the victimization and the passive victim who

in no way consciously or unconsciously facilitated in the furthering of the crime.

Furthermore, he categorizes these victims into types, being either directly affected by the

crime or indirectly affected by the crime. Viano (2000: 10) cited in Davis and Snyman

(2005: 9) in Sibanyoni (2018) distinguishes four stages of becoming a victim. He is of the

opinion that it is only when a person has proceeded through all four stages that he or she

can actually be regarded as a victim. The four stages of victimization include the following:

• Stage 1 A person is injured or suffers at the hand of another person or institution. The essential

point is not why or how a person is harmed, but the fact that the person is injured and

needs to gain control over the harmful situation.

• Stage 2 The injured person perceives the suffering as unjust and undeserved and regards him or

her-self as being victimised. Not all people who are harmed at the hands of another

person or institution recognize it as harm, and often remain silent about it, or accept it as

12

“the way things are.” The moment the person recognises the harm or injury as unjust and

undeserved, facts are reconfigured to take on a new meaning.

• Stage 3

This person looks outside him-or herself towards significant others, helping organisations

or the Criminal Justice system (CJS) for recognition of the fact that he or she has become

a victim. A person can be reluctant to look towards other people for recognising the harm

or injury that he or she suffered, as it can lead to victim blaming or harming the person’s

or institution’s status in society.

• Stage 4

It is only when other people recognise and acknowledge the fact that the person has been

victimised that the person is actually or can be regarded as a victim. This recognition is,

however, dependent on the willingness of other people to identify the harm the person

suffered as harmful.

Quinney (1972: 520) cited in Sibanyoni (2018) however states that a definition and

definite criteria for defining a concept can be adapted to suit the interest group defining

this, and with this in mind the victim will be viewed primarily from a criminological point of

view.

Sibanyoni (2018:14) defines a victim is someone who has been harmed physically,

sexually, psychologically as well as emotionally and who is suffering from the

consequences of an act inflicted on her/him.

For the purpose of this study, the researcher shall define a victim as someone who has

suffered any harm inflicted to him/her, whether physical or psychological.

1.6.6 Violence

The term violence is frequently used to convey a message about the infliction of physical

harm (Farmer, Nizeye, Stulac and Keshavjee, 2006:16) cited in Sibanyoni (2018:16),

reflecting a narrow understanding of the pervasive nature of violence. According to the

13

World Health Organisation (WHO) (2012) cited in Sibanyoni (2018), violence may be

inflicted in four ways: physically, sexually, psychologically, or by means of deprivation.

The term ‘violence’ thus refers to “the intentional use of physical force or power,

threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community,

that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological

harm, mal-development, or deprivation” (WHO, 2012) cited in Sibanyoni (2018).

Bornam, Van Eeden and Wentzel (1998) cited in Sibanyoni (2018) regard violence as an

extreme form of aggression and “a deliberate attempt to do serious physical injury.” They

further state that physical force is used with the specific intent to abuse another person,

to injure or kill another, oneself and to damage or destroy property.

Whereas Stanko, Beirne, and Zaffuto (2002:56) cited in William (2012) are of the view

that violence is concerned with applications, or threats, of physical force against a person,

which can give rise to criminal or civil liability, whether severe or not and whether with or

without a weapon. When more severe such violence may be associated with intimate

violations of the person or the potential to cause serious physical pain, injury or death.

Violence according to McKendrick and Hoffmann (1990:3) cited in Sibanyoni (2018),

Involves the use of strong physical force against another person. Destructive harm

includes not only physical assaults that damage the body but also the many techniques

of inflicting harm by mental or emotional means, whilst Sibanyoni (2018:16) define

violence as a harmful act (offence) that involves the use, attempted use, or threatened

use of physical force committed by a perpetrator(s) against persons that will lead to

physical and/or mental injury or death.

For the purpose of this study, violence shall be defined as an intentional act that is

intending to cause a serious physical harm using any sort of weapons to one person by

another or by a group of people.

1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY The study was conducted in Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni village. These areas are both

located in the rural areas. They are commonly known for their high number in the

14

occurrences of muthi killings. This has made it conducive for the study to have a smooth

flow and maximum participation of the targeted population. Furthermore, the areas are

geographically separated from each other. However, the researcher has managed to

cover both areas in terms of data collection.

The study was conducted in Butterworth. This is the area that is dominant of rural, semi-

urban and suburb areas. This area consists of a number of villages where incidents of

muthi murders have occurred. This made it conducive for the study to have a smooth flow

and maximum participation of the targeted population.

1.8 SAMPLE AND SAMPLING METHOD Strydom (2012:101) agrees with Unrau (2007) that a sample comprises elements or a

subset of the population considered for actual inclusion in the study, or it can be viewed

as a subset of measurements drawn from a population in which we are interested

(Strydom, 2012). Barker (2003) asserted that a sample is a small portion of the total set

of objects, events or persons from which a representative selection is made (Barker,

2003). The researcher has opted for one non-probability sampling which is the purposive

sampling. Strydom and Delport (2012) asserted that in purposive sampling a particular

case is chosen because it illustrates some feature or process that is of interest for a

particular study, although this does not simply imply any case we happen to choose

(Strydom & Delport, 2012).

The sample for this study consisted of 25 participants from Nkcunckuzo and Tholeni

villages. This helped the researcher to understand the conception of both the victims and

offenders of the muthi killings and to establish the perceptions of the people towards the

factors that influence muthi killings. The sampling was made in consideration of the

informed consent, confidentiality, the right of the respondents to withdraw and other

pivotal ethical aspects. The researcher explicitly outlined and explained the ethical

considerations of the research process.

15

1.9 DATA COLLECTION DePoy and Gilson (2008:108) commented in Greeff (2012) that an interview is the

predominant mode of data or information collection in a research. Additionally,

researchers obtain information through direct interchange with an individual or a group

that is known or expected to possess the knowledge they seek. It is for this reason that

the researcher utilized the interviews to collect data. Interview was appropriate for this

study because it allowed for a free and open discussion with the community member

regarding the muthi killings and provided a unique opportunity to acquire in-depth

information about the muthi killings in their community. Interviews were conducted in

Xhosa, as the respondents are predominantly Xhosa-speaking people. In a nutshell, the

community members were engaged for the purposes of collecting information.

1.10 DATA ANALYSIS The collected data was analysed using thematic data analysis. Braun and Clark (2006)

state that thematic analysis is a qualitative technique used for identifying, analysing, and

reporting patterns i.e. themes within data. In keeping with the epistemological assumption

of this study, ISS aims to acquire in-depth knowledge of other people’s perceptions

(Neuman, 2011). This was the driving force behind data analysis, where the researcher

sought to identify codes in participant’s responses and from here the researcher created

meaningful and relevant themes.

1.11 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS In this section the researcher outlined the ethical issues that were considered during the

course of the study. The ethical issues that are discussed below make no claim to

completeness of the ethical consideration in a research project. However the researcher

has chosen as deemed relevant for the study.

a. Informed consent The researcher informed the respondents about the participation in the study, the risks,

the benefits and that their involvement was voluntary. The researcher gave respondents

time to decide about their participation. Explaining clearly what the research is all about.

Respondents have all the right to discontinue at any time during the course of the study

16

if they wish to do so. In other words freedom to discontinue by respondents in the study

was assured

b. Confidentiality The respondent’s information was handled in a confidential manner. The researcher

guaranteed the participants’ privacy.The researcher allows the respondents to decide

where, when, and to whom and to what extent his /her beliefs and behaviour will be

revealed. Personal and sensitive information collected from the respondents was

protected. The researcher assured that whatever information provided would never be

revealed other than to be used for the purposes of research.

c. Anonymity The data is anonymous, meaning the researcher removed the contributor’s name. The

respondents’ identities were protected. The researcher aimed to assure participants that

every effort was going to be made to ensure that the data they provided cannot be traced

back to them in reports, presentations and other forms of dissemination. The topic under

study is a sensitive one, therefore anonymity of the respondents was strictly prioritised.

By sensitivity the researcher meant there are people who have administered muthi

killings, either were directly or indirectly involved and therefore issues of their safety had

to be taken seriously.

d. Withdrawal/Discontinuance

Participants were allowed to leave the study at any time if they felt uncomfortable. They

were allowed to withdraw their data. The researcher informed them at the start of the

study that they have the right to withdraw. They were not forced to continue if they did not

want to do that. This was made explicit by the researcher to the respondents that they

are entitled to withdrawal at any stage during the course of the study.

e. Debriefing The participants were given a general idea of what the researcher was investigating and

why, and their part in the research was explained. They were given a chance to ask any

questions and those questions were answered honestly and as fully as possible. This was

17

certainly taken into consideration by the researcher in order not to subject respondents

to psychological or emotional hazard of any nature.

1.12 SUMMARY The next chapter of this study entails the review of relevant literature for the purposes of

this study. A preliminary review of literature has been done in this chapter; however an

extensive review of literature was done. The motive behind the review of literature is to

identify the possible gap that is left by the previous studies.

18

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1. INTRODUCTION A review of prior and relevant literature is an essential feature of any academic project.

An effective review of literature produces a firm foundation for advancing knowledge. It

guides theory development, closes areas where a plethora of research exists, and

uncovers areas where research is needed (Webster, 2002:48). This position is reaffirmed

by Jensen (2016:16) who asserts that the primary purpose of the review of literature is to

highlight gaps in the existing research, to synthesize the available research, to note areas

of disagreement, to explain the historical background of a topic and to justify the topic the

researcher plans to investigate. Fouche and Delport (2012:18) echo the sentiments of

Bak (2004) that the purpose of this section in the research is to establish the theoretical

framework for the study, to indicate where the study fits into broader debates, and to

justify the significance of the research project against the backdrop of previous research.

The latter further comment that in this section the researcher needs to identify the body

of literature which is relevant to the research, to indicate the relationship of the proposed

study to the relevant literature and to demonstrate the researcher’s understanding of the

main debates in the literature. This research project is meant to investigate the

phenomenon as reflecting on the topic. This chapter is focused on discussing, analysing

and interpreting the findings and conclusions of pertinent literature in order for the

research project to meet the scientific research standards.

2.2 ANALYSIS OF CASE REPORTS: INTERNATIONAL FOCUS

2.2.1 African perspective According to Scholtz, Phillips and Knobel (1997:57) muthi murder occurs when someone

is murdered and parts of the body sacrificed, or used for muthi (medicine) to rid the

community of evil or to confer special privileges on the murderers. Muthi murders occur

mainly amongst members of the Nguni Tribes and appear to be a more common

phenomenon in Northern Zululand, Swaziland, and the north-eastern parts of

Mpumalanga including former Venda in South Africa. Animal or human sacrifice is usually

advocated by a traditional healer or isangoma and carried out by a family member who is

seeking supernatural powers or spiritual help. Scholtz et al (1997: 65) cite a case report

19

on the incident of muthi murder that took place on the 29 September 1994. In this incident

a pair of hands and forearms of a black child were found on a refuse dump in Boystown

Squatter camp, Langa, Cape Town. The forearms had been dismembered at the elbow

joint with a sharp instrument such as a machete (Refer to figure 1of this study). Among

the machetes that are illustrated below, the machete that was used in this case is the

panga. Superficial incision wounds were present on the proximal parts of the forearm.

The left ring finger was freshly amputated (Refer to figure. 2 of this study). The arms were

identified by the grandmother on the basis of the healing burn wound on the right wrist of

a 5-year-old boy who was last seen alive on the 27th of September 1994. On the 5th of

October 1994 a male isangoma was arrested in his two-roomed squatter shack in

Boystown, after information was received from a member of the local community. After

the arrest of the 30-year-old isangoma and his assistant, they confessed to murdering the

5-year-old boy. A week later, they also pointed out a metal trunk lying next to a pool of

water adjacent to the nearby freeway. This trunk contained the remains and the clothes

of the murdered boy. The remains consisted of the body of a black child (Scholtz,

1997:48).

The gist of this case report is primarily focused on; who is likely to be the victim of muthi

murders, who is likely to perform muthi murders, what is the MO of muthi murderers and

what the role of the law is. This case report gives a comprehensive response to the

research questions of this study and further contributes towards the accomplishment of

the objectives of this study. It is quite clear that the most vulnerable strata of the

community to muthi murders is older people and children. Bukuluki (2014:11) reinforced

this position by reiterating that there is a belief within the community, that child sacrifice

incidents usually involve collaboration between two or more parties. These parties include

the person intending to sacrifice, an agent hired to execute the kidnapping or trafficking

of a child to be sacrificed and a muthi facilitator who is almost in all cases a fraudulent

traditional healer who claims to be a spiritualist with supernatural powers.

It is quite explicit that there is a huge amount of intimidation that the victims of muthi

murderers are subjected to and, this is evident from the types of weapons that the muthi

murders use when harvesting human body parts. Furthermore the preference of muthi

20

murderers for children and older people validates the fact that there is intimidation prior

to the operation, which is the aspect that must be established by this study. On the mode

of operation of the muthi murderers there must be motivation whether it is financial or

otherwise. Minnaar (2003:89) agrees with this assertion, stating that it is likely that muthi

murderers are chosen for their availability and their willingness to accept a small payment.

Motivation for involvement may be financial, honouring accepted traditions, or an offender

may be bribed to become an accomplice. Secondary to that, muthi murderers choose the

specific victims as a target based on a general profile given by the traditional healer

(Minnaar, 2003:89). This means that the MO of the muthi murderers is strategically

orchestrated, from the buyer to the traditional healer, from the traditional healer to the

assailant (muthi murderer), from the muthi murderer to the victim, from the victim to the

main operation i.e. harvesting of human body parts using intimidating instrument, from

there back to the traditional healer and ultimately back to the buyer according to the need.

Figure 1: Types of machetes

Figure 1 depicts different types of weapons (i.e. machetes) as used by muthi

killers/murderers to harvest human body parts. The media reports usually state that when

muthi murderers are arrested such machete are found in their possession and they are

confiscated by the police officers

21

Figure 2: Amputated child’s hand

Figure 2 shows a child’s hand harvested for the purpose of making muthi. The illustrations

above depict the hand of a child that was harvested for the purposes of making a muthi

and the instruments that were used to do such. It explicitly shows a finger of a child that

was amputated was amputated using a panga. The pictures above are an exact

illustration of the weapons that were used by the muthi murderers to harvest body parts.

2.3 SOUTH AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE ON MUTHI KILLINGS Mihalik and Yusuf (1990:5) illustrate the extent of the Venda communities’ discontent with

the Venda state which was intricately bound up with superstition, black magic, witchcraft

and muthi murders. Le Roux commission (1990) revealed that discontent in Venda

focused mainly on muthi murders involving powerful businessmen, politicians and civil

servants. The commission also found that muthi murder was an extremely complex issue

which caused tremendous emotional stress in Venda communities. Furthermore, the

commission established that the practice of witchcraft and muthi killings stems from the

traditional African philosophy that there exists cosmic unity of all things visible and

invisible, of which man forms a small part and where he has a fixed place in the hierarchy

of creation. Accordingly, humans should not disturb the harmony of creation by aspiring

to a higher place than that allocated to him. The reasoning behind this philosophy seems

to be that there exists a limited amount of cosmic ‘good’ by which is primarily understood

22

to mean not material assets, but vital force, prestige, health and good luck (Mihalik and

Cassim, 1990:20). Le Roux commission (1990:110), revealed that the implementation of

the Bantu Authorities Act (No. 68 of 1951) chiefs became de facto public servants

appointed by the central government and accountable to a government-appointed

commissioner. Instead of representing the people in and against the central government,

they became the representatives of the central government among the people. The

authority of the chiefs thus became vested in the government instead of in the people

whom they were supposed to represent. When Venda opted for independence in 1979,

the chiefs became even less reliant on community support, as they were now appointed,

not by the community, but by Chief Minister. It is believed that the people involved in

government today are the people who have businesses and they are the ones who are

killing people in Venda for muthi (Le Roux Commission, 1990).

As the literature comments this era is in the eighties (1988) when tribal chiefs were in

charge in the Venda communities, therefore the scientific reasoning behind this traditional

African philosophy is that the chiefs were regarded as vital forces for prosperity and

prestige of the society. In the findings of the commission chiefs were said to be directly

participating in muthi killings in order to gain wealth and fame for the benefit of the whole

tribe. Therefore, human sacrifice was seen as a prerequisite for a tribe’s prosperity, and

vital force and this can be augmented by taking the vital organs from a human being and

make a powerful medicine to strengthen the chief’s own vital force for the common good

of the community. However, this requires a close scrutiny as to what was the perception

of the community in order to accomplish the objectives of this study. This gives an

implication that although muthi killings were not overtly condoned but were secretly

practiced by chiefs for the reasons mentioned above. Mihalik (1990) argue that muthi

murders and witchcraft are political weapons. Furthermore, a conclusion has been made

that there seems to be some correlation between muthi killing and the political power

struggle in Southern Africa. The issue of muthi killings also seems to be a sensitive

political issue in unsophisticated communities.

This means politicians as the central components in the legislation-formulation- process

cannot enact pieces of legislation that seek to denounce the practices of muthi killings

23

and witchcraft as the community members can have a popular emerging view that can

optimistically affect their political power. It is also the case with businessmen and chiefs

in order to maintain their power they must remain secretive about their stance on muthi

murders and witchcraft. It is for this reason that the researcher is convinced that the

communities have perceptions towards muthi killings, hence the conducting of this study.

In 1995 a commission of inquiry into witchcraft and muthi crimes in Limpopo, formerly

known as Northern Province, was instituted. The commission was assigned with

investigating witchcraft crimes and muthi killings that were reported to have risen. This

commission was named after its chairperson, Ralushai. One of the fundamental

objectives of the commission was ‘to investigate deeply the causes of witchcraft violence

and ritual murders in the Northern Province’ (Ralushai Commission, (1996). This

commission similarly concluded that people were killed ritually for financial gains to make

rain, to bring luck and in the case of the politically powerful to increase power and

authority. Also the commission discovered that in the past, especially amongst Venda

people at the beginning of the ploughing season, royal seeds were mixed with those of

the local subjects, and later sowed in the field. It was believed that this practice would

yield a good harvest for the nation. This practice was called “Tshirenwarenwane”. Some

people believed that if the royal seeds are mixed with human fat, especially if the fat is

derived from a person of royal descent, the harvest would be even better. Ritual murder

was therefore employed to obtain fat Ralushai commission (1996: 15) cited in Petrus

(2009).

There is an apparent correlation between the conclusions made by the Le Roux

commission and Ralushai commission in relation to the motive behind [their] formulation.

The human sacrifice or ritual (muthi) murders are committed for the purposes of self-

enrichment and upliftment of certain elite people, such as chiefs, politicians and business

people, espectially in the communities where they are practiced. As far as the

researcher‘s analysis is concerned the community members have serious concerns about

the prevalence of muthi murders and witchcraft-related crimes, and thus this is the gap

that has been left off by the commissions other researcher in general, hence the

researcher is profoundly interested in the perceptions of Butterworth community which is

24

the primary objective of this study. All that having been identified and discovered by the

Ralushai commission, the commission made recommendations that are enshrined in its

final report. The commission recommended that the Witchcraft Suppression Act (No. 3 of

1957) be annulled and substituted by a Witchcraft Control Act (Ralushai, 1996:20) cited

in (Petrus 2009). Petrus (2009) argues that the proposed Witchcraft Control Act also uses

the terms ‘witch-doctor’ and ‘witch-finder’ several times. An analysis of just these aspects

of the proposed Act reveals a lack of clarity that has the potential to produce similar

problems as those inherent in the Witchcraft Suppression Act (No.3 of 1957). If the

purpose of the Witchcraft Control Act is to provide for the control of witchcraft and related

practices, does this mean that the Commission advocates a condoning of witchcraft

beliefs and practices, as long as they are ‘controlled’? (Petrus, 2009). To find the legal

provisions that can be enacted to mitigate muthi murders is one of the objectives of this

study. The researcher is of the view that before determining any legislation on witchcraft-

related crimes and muthi murders there must be robust academic discourse where the

consensus can be reached on the scientific definition of terms to be employed in the Act

to be enacted on witchcraft-related crimes and muthi crimes. At this juncture the

Witchcraft Suppression Act (No.3 of 1957) must remain effective, however a community

based resource centre must be assigned by government with the responsibility to educate

the public on the Witchcraft Suppression Act (No. 3 of 1957) and public awareness

campaigns in all areas (deep rural, urban, suburb) must be conducted in the languages

convenient to the people of that specific area. Pessimistic critiques of the Ralushai

recommendation cannot be a solution as the initiative was the first of its kind under the

democratic government, also the constitutional rights of the people who are the legal

subjects in terms of law must not be tempered with in the course of formulation and

promulgation of the legislation. In a nut shell the Witchcraft-related crimes, muthi murder

and Witchcraft Suppression Act (No. 3 of 1957) must be a social curriculum provided to

the community.

The researcher is sharing the sentiments echoed by the Ralushai commission (1996) on

one of its recommendations. The commission recommended the aspect of taking the role

of research seriously into the issue of witchcraft-related crimes. Ralushai commission

(1996), cited in Petrus (2009) recommend that’ because of the seriousness of witchcraft-

25

related killings and muthi murders it would be in the interest of the people and of the

country to have the muthi killings researched on a more permanent basis’ Petrus (2009).

The recommendation made by the Ralushai commission (1996) further signifies and

justifies this study as a response to the enlightenment of the people on the muthi killings.

There are a number of recommendations made by the Ralushai commission (1996) which

are relevant to the broader context of this study. However the researcher has opted to be

selective and choose certain recommendations to avoid inclusion of irrelevant literature

and thereby presenting ambiguous facts. The chosen recommendations are relevant for

the accomplishment of objectives of this study.

Roelofse (2009:23) points out that chiefs are directly participating in the practices of muthi

killings. Kitchens and Koche (1991:46-51) cited in Roelefse (2009) postulate that muthi

killings are associated with royalty, stating that the belief exists that the energy from the

muthi victim is transferred to the new chief at inauguration. Subsequently, this means that

there are two kinds of ritual murders, namely culturally unacceptable and culturally

acceptable ritual murder. Roelofse (2009:23) further compounds on the culturally

accepted ritual murders by asserting that the culturally accepted murder can be a human

sacrifice linked to some perceived benefit for the community or during some ceremonies.

Amongst the Vha-Venda, the saying, ‘Khosi a vhulaya’ (the chief kills) is commonly

known. The practice of culturally acceptable ritual murder is not restricted to the Vha-

Venda people. It is also explained that with the death and inauguration ceremonies of

prominent chiefs, human sacrifices are often made but because the family selected to

present a young maiden is so honored that they cooperate willingly and the matter is kept

secret. On the other side culturally unacceptable ritual murder is not comparable to

culturally acceptable ritual murder. In the instance of culturally acceptable ritual murder

there are practices that relate to rituals but in culturally unacceptable murders there is an

ambiguity that lies within the concept of perceived good and evil. It is the moral evaluation

that the community attaches to an event Roelofse (2009:24).

The assertions made in this study prove that there is still a lot of misunderstanding and

lack of knowledge within the communities on the legitimate practice and the philosophy

behind ritual killings. The common element of ritual murders, culturally acceptable or

26

culturally unacceptable, is killing and death. Therefore, the feeling of people toward death

is usually common and it’s the feeling of anxiety, despair and fear, meaning which

notwithstanding the concept of ‘culturally acceptable or unacceptable’ ritual murders need

to be mitigated. Hence, this study is largely focused on the perceptions of the community

members towards the muthi killings. Previous studies conducted have focused on the

explanation of ritual killings from different scholastic perspectives and they have

overlooked the perception of the people towards ritual murders. For this study: two rural

areas in the EC were selected as found in Butterworth. The study applied deductive

reasoning in scrutinising cultures and traditions of different ethnic groups in order not to

misunderstand the perception towards muthi killings. Petrus (2007:181) concedes to the

latter augment, that the controversy surrounding the ritual crime phenomenon has

sparked debate in various circles ranging from skepticism on the one hand to acceptance

on the other. Regardless of where one chooses to position oneself in this debate, what

does seem to be certain is that the issue of ritual crime is one that is not clear-cut, in the

sense that people rarely know what to make of it. It appears that too little is known about

the phenomenon to draw any useful conclusions. Insufficient knowledge about the

phenomenon has resulted in many unsubstantiated arguments being put forward on both

sides of the debate.

Evans (1991:9) shares that muthi killings are shrouded in a network of conspiracy and

this is a difficult subject to analyse or quantify with any reasonable measure of objectivity.

Muthi killings obtain parts of the human body as part of the ritual and belief that certain

power are derived from the body parts and this occurs regularly in most areas of KwaZulu

Natal. Quite often, the muthi murders are not reported to the police, or when they are,

there is too little solid information to warrant a formal inquiry. On average, twelve to fifteen

mutilated corpses from Umlazi are received in Durban’s morgues each year. In

substantiation of this comment Evans (1991:9) further asserts that some types of muthi

increase the presence and personality and presence of the individual using muthi. People

needing to reinforce their social and financial positions use these sorts of medicines

(human body parts made), which are reputed to be powerful. Meanwhile, in Lesotho,

muthi made from human flesh was officially used only by the more important chiefs.

Meanwhile in Swaziland in the 20th Century the king was the only person permitted to use

27

this most powerful muthi. The users of human muthi were restricted to persons of high

social status in order to avoid challenges to authority. In other words, until relatively

recently, muthi murders were typically instigated by individuals holding high political rank,

such as chiefs. In this social context, the killings were committed either to bolster the

prestige and status of the instigator, or to benefit the community as a whole. If muthi

murder in these select cases is actually supported unanimously by the affected

community, it has important social and moral implication.

At this stage Evans (1991) concurs with Mihalik and Cassim (1990) and Roelofse (2009)

that the muthi killings are indeed practiced by the certain individuals of high social status,

in the context of the human social setting taking into cognisance business people,

politicians, chiefs and other social authorities being implicated as well. If Evans (1991),

Mihalik and Roelofse (2009) share the same sentiments on who practice muthi murders,

it explicitly means that there must be a secondary point of departure. The secondary

point of scrutiny is, what are the perceptions of the ordinary members of the community

towards muthi killings? And this notion addresses the fundamental objective of this study.

On that NOTE Evans (1991:12) asserts that there are diverse opinions about whether a

muthi murder might be considered acceptable by all the members of a community in which

it happens. In response to that amount of uncertainty Roelofse (2009: 26) argues that

with the death and inauguration ceremonies of prominent chiefs, human sacrifices are

often made but because the family selected to present a young maiden is so honored that

they cooperate willingly and the matter is kept secret. In that regard it is clear that there

is as likelihood that community members will certainly have divergent views on the

acceptability of the muthi murder as a socially, morally and culturally acceptable practice.

Notwithstanding the afore-made assertions, it is worth noting that when the muthi killing

practices benefit a certain elite and victimise a sizeable chunk of the community members

it will be vehemently rejected by the community members regardless of its cultural

significance. Evans (1991:17) postulate that one way to bypass criticism is to shroud a

muthi killing in as much secrecy as possible. Obviously, if a murder were to be committed

for purposes that would only benefit a small number of people, or even an individual, the

28

instigator would wish the operation to be as covert as possible, for fear of being accused

of witchcraft.

Petrus (2007:193) argues that the phenomenon of ritualistic crimes and muthi killings is

a complex issue for law enforcement practitioners due to differing views about whether it

exists or not, and, more specifically, on how to define what ritualistic crime or muthi killing

is. What may be regarded as a ritualistic crime in one context may be regarded as an

acceptable expression of belief in another. The difficulty of definition lies in the connection

between the term “ritual or ritualistic” and the concept of religion, which involves belief in

a supernatural power. Even the Conventional anthropological studies have long included

the study of religion and ritual in human societies. However, within the context of ritualistic

crime, mainline anthropological perspectives are insufficient. A more applied perspective,

as well as incorporation of a criminological perspective is required. Ritualistic crime

therefore represents not only a matter of an anthropological concern because of the

issues of ritual and belief, but is also a matter of criminological concern as a result of the

issue of crime (Petrus, 2007:193).

The researcher is of the conception that there are pieces of legislation that criminalise

culturally acceptable practices, these legislative provisions include the supreme law of

South Africa, the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act No. 108 of 1996),

section 11 which states that everyone has the right to life. Indulgence on the subject of

the legal provisions on the practices of muthi killings is also an area of interest of this

study. Therefore, it is arguable that even if there can be a common benefit for the

community from muthi killings, it can remain legally unacceptable.

The common concern of the community is likely to be utterly negative towards muthi

killing practices. This conviction is supported by the fact that a number of people that fall

victim of the muthi murders are law abiding and they trust the law for their well-being,

safety and protection. Therefore, despite their lower social status, they cannot approve

illegitimate means of obtaining higher social status in the community. By such the

researcher sought to explain the perceptions of the community members based on the

scholarly arguments made above.

29

Muthi murder refers to killing with the purpose of harvesting body parts for use as

traditional medicine or muthi. Medicine murder is seen in several countries across Africa

with ethnographic evidence going back to the early nineteenth century documenting the

existence of the practice in Southern Africa (Louise. 2008:101).

An estimated 80 per cent of South Africa regularly uses traditional herbs and medicines

or muthi (derived from umuthi meaning tree). Of course not all sangomas (traditional

healers) make use of human body parts as one of the ingredients in their medicines but

those thatdo will place an order with a person hired for this specialist purpose. Sangomas

seldom do the killing themselves. The order will include not only specifications as to which

particular body part or parts are required, testicles for virility purposes, fat from the breasts

abdomen for luck, tongues to smooth the path to a lover’s heart but the very specific

manner in which they are to be collected. The use of human body parts for medicinal

purposes is based on the belief that it is possible to appropriate the life force of one person

through its literal consumption by another. For this reason a victim is often carefully

chosen not just any person’s penis as a cure for male infertility, for instance, but that of a

man with several healthy children. Strangers or enemies are seldom the target of muthi

murders (Scholtz et al., 1997:193).

Muthi killings take place in South Africa against a backdrop not simply of extreme poverty

but of extreme economic inequality. Furthermore, muthi murder is taking place in South

Africa today is of a society beset by exceptional levels of criminality and of violence and

murder in particular. Much of the crime that takes place in South Africa is economically

motivated. Perhaps its most particular feature is the low value which human life is able to

command in the criminal market. This includes prominent cases of families being gunned

down in exchange for a motor vehicle, a schoolgirl’s head being bashed for possession

of her cell phone, a young boy being strangled for his ears worth R50 on the medicine

market. In other words, the latter instance is not to be understood as exemplifying

anything particularly brutal about muthi killers or their commissioning agents, but is to be

understood as an element in a more generalised landscape characterised by the profound

cheapening of human life and the apparent dehumanisation of the perpetrators of violent

crime. There is nothing about killers in this regard (Louise, 2008:101).

30

At this juncture Louise (2008) is providing a comprehensive view of the muthi murders in

the contemporary South Africa. The researcher is of the view that the traditional healers

are subjected to the regulations of the Traditional medicine practitioner’s council in terms

of Traditional medical practitioners act. Their practice is strictly controlled by a regulatory

body and therefore they cannot be directly involved in the practice of harvesting human

body parts for the purposes of making strong medicines. Notwithstanding, they are

involved in conspiracy for the harvesting of the human body parts, although in a strictly

stealthy manner. The researcher concedes to the notion that muthi murders are

economically motivated, this is evident from the remuneration provided to the people who

directly practice muthi killings or operate the harvesting of the human body parts for the

purposes of making medicine. The rewards for the people who commit muthi killings will

forever continue to dehumanise people and degrade their value of life. In other words in

the contemporary South Africa people are willing to take a life in exchange for money,

secondarily people who are behind the muthi killings are people who are hell-burnt with

financial gains, political power, social status and upward-mobility.

Turrell (2001:193) elucidates that the muthi killings of a man required the attainment of

extraordinary power. Consequently, this extraordinary power was required to win

competitive advantages in chiefly rivalries over people and land. This is why muthi killings

were closely associated with chiefly politics. Turrell (2001:193) posits that these murders

were exceptional in pre-colonial politics and were only committed in the face of an

extremely serious challenge to chiefly power. Muthi killing became more common as the

evil of colonial invasion, which placed a revenge of social and economic pressure on Zulu

chiefdoms (Turrel, 2001:193).

Turrell (2001:195) observed that kwaZulu-Natal chiefs lost their monopoly of muthi

murder between the 1900s. This loss was extremely uneven across the regions of Zulu

kingdom, where each region had its own micro political economy and general pattern of

chiefly rivalry. By the 1920s traditional healers were in the business of selling powerful

medicine to ambitious citizens. Muthi murders became an ideological accessory to the

rural would-be small bourgeois as distinct from being a symbolic component of traditional

power. The killings emerged in the wake of the social engineering imposed by the National

31

Government on the Zulu people before and after the 1906 Bambatha rebellion. Whenever

a muthi killing occurred the authorities of Natal feared that it was the signal of another

rebellion. This general fear shaped the judicial hostility of muthi killing and concealed the

changes that were taking place in the ritual itself (Turrell, 2001:195).

Turrel (2001:195) purports that muthi killings were reported among the Sotho, Zulu and

Swazi and there appeared to be few recorded muthi killings amongst the Xhosa. In 1895,

one of the earliest recorded muthi killings that came to attention was that of the Cape

authorities in Basotoland now called Lesotho. The modern muthi killings began in

Swaziland. In 1899 to 1902, after the death of King Bunu, there was an outbreak of serial

muthi killings in which Labotsibeni, the Queen Regent, was deeply involved. Thereafter,

between 1900 and the 1930s muthi killings were prosecuted in a passage that runs north

from Durban through the circuit court towns of Pietermaritzburg, Dundee, Nelspruit and

to the Transvaal through Lydenburg and into Green Valley, along what was to become

the Kruger National Park, where muthi killings continue to be growing to this very day

(Turrell, 2001:195).

In this study the researcher put more emphasis on perceptions influencing muthi killings

in Butterworth, EC. However, the historical state of affairs, as it relates to muthi killings,

is also taken into cognisance in this section of the study.

2.4 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK ON MUTHI KILLINGS

2.4.1 Anomie Theory Boumer (2016:19) purports that the concept of anomie has been used and defined in a

variety of different ways over the past several centuries. In the social science literature,

the concept is most associated with the theoretical writings of Jean Marie Guyau, Emile

Durkheim and Robert Merton. Boumer (2016:19) cited in Orru (1987:111) stating that an

excellent overview was provided of the development and varied uses of anomie through

history, including how the concept was defined and used by the prominent theorists. Orru

(1987:111) traces the origins of anomie to ancient Greece, but he credits Guyau with

32

introducing the term to the sociological literature during the 19th century, influencing,

among other, Emile Durkheim. While Durkheim did not focus on crime per se, his

theoretical writings on anomie from the late 1800s have been particularly influential in

shaping several criminological theories, including Social Control Theory, Social

Disorganising Theory, and classic and contemporary anomie theories. Highlighting the

consequences of rapid social change, Durkheim emphasizes the importance of societal

norms in regulating individual goals and pursuits, and he conceives of anomie primarily

as a state of weak social regulation of such goals. Sztompka (1998:101) highlighted that

there are some apparent inconsistencies in how anomie is defined and applied in

Merton’s theoretical writings, but he most consistently refers to anomie as a social context

in which there is a lack of consensus regarding the normative means of pursuing culturally

valued goals. Merton views anomie as a central source of the high levels of deviance

observed in the United States (U.S.). Merton’s theoretical writings have been interpreted

in divergent ways, with some scholars emphasising the consequences of anomic social

organization and others focusing on blocked opportunities and other strains. The latter

idea does not focus on anomie, per se, but has been instrumental in the development of

strain theories, which have been influential in criminology.

Boumer (2016:19) purports that in one of the famous articles, in sociology, its first version

was written in the 1940s, Robert Merton begins by addressing biological explanations of

deviance and concludes that biology cannot account for variations from one society to the

next in the nature and extent of deviance. Robert Merton’s primary interest was not so

much why a particular individual deviates, but why the rates of deviance differ so

dramatically in different societies and for different subgroups within a single society.

Merton changes the concept slightly, to refer to a situation in which there is an apparent

lack of fit between the culture’s norms about what constitutes success in life (goals) and

the culture’s norms about the appropriate ways to achieve those goals (means). In

Merton’s formation, anomie becomes the explanation for high rates of deviant behavior

in the United States compared with other societies, and also an explanation for the

distribution of deviant behavior across groups defined by class, race, ethnicity and the

like. Merton’s analysis can be understood, first as a result of our emphasizing success

goals more than we emphasize approved means of achieving those goals, and second,

33

our emphasizing the same kind of success for everyone even while the race, ethnic and

class stratification of the society limits the opportunities for success by those in less

privileged groups, Boumer (2016).

Boumer (2016:20) poses a question of how do people respond to this disjuncture of goal

and means. He further comments that Merton creates a typology of adaptations. The first

symbol designates people’s relationship to norms about goals, the second symbol

designates their relationship to norms about the means of achieving those goals.

Mode of adaptation

I. Conformity ++

II. Innovation+ -

III. Ritualism-+

IV. Retreatism—

V. Rebellion xx

In this diagram, a “+’’ means acceptance, a “-‘’ signifies rejection, and an “x” means

rejection of prevailing values and substitution of new ones. Merton’s analysis is not

ultimately aimed at the individual level; why does this individual deviates and this one not,

but at the level of groups and societies as reflected in differing rates of deviance. Merton

is of the view that not every individual exposed to those cultural conflicts reacts the same

way; on the contrary, his typology is designed to allow for variation at the individual level.

2.4.2.1. The application of Anomie Theory to this study The two villages where this study was conducted are rural areas that are dominant of

people that are unemployed. These are the areas where traditional and cultural activities

are supposedly upheld and respected by the villager. Most of the people owe their

characters to the socialisation and domestication in their families, where a male child is

taught the responsibility to protect the family and take care of the livestock, on the other

hand a female child is taught self-love, self-respect and maternal warmth.

Notwithstanding such expectations of the society, people are representing deviant

behavior by committing muthi murders, thereby contravening the acceptable social norms

34

and therefore render the society to normlessness. The anomie theory is the best theory

that provided solid theoretical underpinnings for the purposes of this study.

The anomie theory is the most relevant theory for the accomplishment of the objectives

of this study. The anomie theory covers the sociological ground of the study that the

deviant behavior of the people in the society can be attributed to structured inequalities

in the society. This study is intended to discover the perceptions of the people towards

muthi killings, however a scientific word of reason should be given on the driving force for

people to get, whether directly or indirectly, involved in the muthi killing practices. The

theory also argues that lower class segment of the society is mostly likely to be mostly

affected by the deviant behavior and the muthi killings are taking place in their areas.

Poor rural community members that largely constitute the lower class are adversely

affected by the phenomenon of muthi killings. This theory provided grounds for a

theoretical guidance and scientific base for this study, and thereby guarantees credibility

of this study.

2.4.2. General Strain Theory The General Strain Theory argues that strains or stressors increase the likelihood of

negative emotions like anger and frustration. These emotions create pressure for

corrective action, and crime is one possible response (Agnew 1992:49). It is further

submitted that strain refers to relationships in which others are not treating individual as

he or she would like to be treated. To help clarify the meaning of strain the following

definitions are proposed:

• Objective strain- Referring to events or conditions that are disliked by most

members of a given group. So, if it is stated that an individual is experiencing

objective strain, it is meant that he or she is experiencing an event or condition that

is usually disliked by members of his or her group. Many events and conditions

are disliked by most people, regardless of group membership (Agnew, 1992:51)

• Subjective strain- Relating to events or conditions that are disliked by the people

who are experiencing or have experienced them. So, if it stated that individuals are

experiencing subjective strain, it means that they are experiencing an event or

condition that they dislike. The subjective evaluation of an objective strain is a

35

function of a range of factor, including individual traits, personal and social

resources, goals, values, identities and arrange of life circumstances (Agnew

1992:51).

Agnew (1992) described the types of events and conditions as most likely to be classified

as objective strains and to result in subjective strain. Such events or conditions involve

goal blockage, the loss of positive stimuli, and the presentation of negative stimuli. Robert

Agnew did not discuss whether certain of these strains are more likely to result in crime

than others. Rather, Agnew treated these strains as more or less equivalent in terms of

their impact on crime. Agnew argued that whether they result in crime is largely a function

of the characteristics of the individuals experiencing the strain. In particular, strain is most

likely to lead to crime when individuals lack the skills and resources to cope with their

strain in a legitimate manner, are low in conventional social support, are low in social

control, blame their strain n others, and are disposed to crime.

It is further submitted that Durkheim focused on the decrease of societal restraint and the

strain that resulted at individual level, and Merton studied the cultural imbalances that

exist between goal and the norms of the individuals of society (Agnew and Passes,

1997:2-3). Agnew & Passas (1997:4) compared strain theory to control theory and social

learning, they further concluded that strain theory is focused on the pressure that is placed

on the individual to commit crime (Agnew, 1992:49). Agnew & Passas (1997:4-5) purport

that the popularity of strain theory or anomie theory declined in the late 1960’s due to the

lack of empirical evidence put forth by researchers and the political climate of the decade.

(Agnew & Passas, 1992:49).

2.4.2.1 Application of General Strain Theory to this study The phenomenon that is under study has all the elements to subject people to emotional

and psychological strain, therefore objective and subjective approaches, as suggested by

Agnew (1997:53), have been of paramount importance in order to accomplish the

fundamental objectives of this study. With specific reference to the objective approach of

general strain theory, the variables of this study were the community members as the

topic suggests. Therefore, the general strain theory of is of utmost relevance to the study.

36

2.5 SUMMARY The literature in this chapter comments that in the pattern of belief, motivation and

behavior surrounding muthi murders, the participants are operating on a moral level that

is as complex as any other world view. Muthi murder is a covert way in which people

attempt to overcome stresses that are common throughout South Africa today, a package

of poverty, uncertain politics, deteriorating urban and rural conditions, unrealised

ambitions and so forth (Evans, 1991:15). The researcher concurs with the above

assertion because in a number of instances and in a plethora of literature made, the major

motivation for muthi killings is mostly financial, political and social in nature. In the next

chapter research methodology, design and data collection tool are presented.

37

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.1 INTRODUCTION This chapter discuss the research methods employed by the researcher for the execution

of this study. The adopted research methods form the backbone of any undertaken

research study. These methods make fieldwork possible and provide a systematic guide

for data collection procedures, in which the goals of the study can be met. To fulfil the aim

and objectives of the study, it was imperative to select appropriate methodological

procedures and techniques. The research design of a study provides the framework for

aspects related to how the study is to be carried out in the field. In support of this

statement, Bayens and Roberson (2011) provide that a good research design

encompasses adherence to the rules of scientific investigation along with a level of

creativity which allows the researcher to be flexible within the context of the study.

Considering the above, this chapter outlines the research design and methods along with

the assessment instruments used in the study to fulfil the objectives outlined in Chapter

1 of this dissertation. This is followed by a presentation of characteristics of the selected

participants in order to provide a description of the sample of this study. Lastly, the

analysis of the collected data is presented and explained in detail. Table 1 indicates the

summary of research methods map for this research study.

Table 1: Research Methods Map

Methodology Map

Research design Exploratory design

Theoretical Method Qualitative research approach

Sampling Technique Non-probability sampling:

Purposive sampling

Methods of Data Collection Semi-structured interviews

Data Analysis Thematic analysis

38

3.2 RESEARCH DESIGN Research design can be defined as the procedure or plan of action, which acts as a

framework or guideline to the study, Bezuidenhout (2011). According to Steyn (2013)

research design is based on the purpose of the research, the paradigm chosen, the

context in which the research is done, and the research techniques used to collect and

analyse the data. The following discussion pertains to the design underpinning the study.

Note** for this study, the researcher will use muthi murder and muthi killings terms

interchangeably. Even in this chapter, the researcher will use muthi murder and muthi

killings interchangeably, for the purpose of this study, these terms shall remain the same.

3.1.2 Exploratory design

Bhattacherjee (2012) content that a research design is a blueprint for experimental

research used to answer exact research questions or test definite hypotheses. The

researcher used an exploratory design for this study. Exploratory research is defined by

Burns and Groove (2001:374) “as research conducted to gain new insights, discover new

ideas, and for increasing knowledge of the phenomenon.” Bless et al. (2013), Zikmund

(2003) and Cooper and Schinder (2006) allude that exploratory research is used when

there is little research about a particular subject, and it is used primarily by researchers

to gain an in-depth understanding of the phenomena.

Exploratory research design is not limited to one specific paradigm but may use either

qualitative or quantitative approaches. Hence, using the exploratory design for this study

helped the researcher to collect the most reliable qualitative data in order to develop an

in-depth understanding of the perceptions of Butterworth community memebers on muthi

killings enventuated in their respective communities. Although various research has been

conducted on muthi murder, little is known about the Butterworth muthi killings in the

Eastern Cape where this problem has been rife for many years. Little attention has been

paid to Eastern Cape, Butterworth muthi killings problems hence the undertaken study

was carried out. This research design selected by the researcher is appropriate for this

39

study as it provided in-depth data on the muthi killings from the Butterworth communities’

perspectives.

3.3 QUALITATIVE RESEARCH APPROACH The study employed a qualitative research approach which is very appropriate for this

study as the researcher seeks to provide an in-depth information concerning the issues

surrounding muthi murder in the Eastern Cape. Sakarombe (2014:76), define qualitative

research qualitative research is a situated activity that locates the observer in the world.

It consists of a set of interpretive, material practices that makes the world visible. These

practices transform the world. They turn the world into a series of representations,

including field notes, interviews, conversations, photographs, recordings, and memos to

the self. At this level, qualitative research involves an interpretive, naturalistic approach

to the world. This means that qualitative researchers study things in their natural settings,

attempting to make sense of, or to interpret, phenomena in terms of the meanings people

bring to them. Wherein Golafshani, (2003) assert that qualitative research explores a

subject in real world, context-specific settings (Golafshani, 2003). It was within the above

provided assertions that the researcher opted to use the qualitative for this study. The

detailed definition by Sakarombe (2014) captured the same essence of explanation that

prompted the researcher to utilise the qualitative approach

The qualitative method for this study provided a deeper and richer understanding of muthi

murder processes that would not be obtainable from methods employed in quantitative

research (Punch, 2013). Qualitative method assisted the researcher to gather depth of

understanding on the perceptions of Butterworth community members concerning the

multiple muthi killings that have been happening in their communities. Qualitative

research allowed the researcher to see the phenomena being studied through the eyes

and experiences of the Butterworth community members, and thus provided an

opportunity for the individual meanings ascribed by interviewees to emerge (Neuman,

2000). In other words, qualitative research allowed the researcher to understand the

perceptions of the Butterworth community members regarding muthi murder from their

own perspective and in their natural environment. The use of a qualitative method was

geared to explore the perceptions of Butterworth community members regarding muthi

40

killings in Butterworth. According to Bouma and Atkinson (1987) as cited in Nota

(2015:73), “the importance of qualitative research is to view situations or events from the

perspective of the people being studied: how do they view the world and what do they

think?” In this case, community members from Butterworth were studied in order to gain

a deeper understanding and their perceptions on the multiple muthi killings that have been

taking place in Butterworth.

The following discussion pertains to the limitations of using the qualitative research

approach employed by this study.

3.3.1 Limitations of Qualitative Research Approach

The aim of qualitative analysis is a complete, detailed description. No attempt is made to

assign frequencies to the linguistic features which are identified in the data, and rare

phenomena receives (or should receive) the same amount of attention as more frequent

phenomena. Qualitative analysis allows for fine distinctions to be drawn because it is not

necessary to shoehorn the data into a finite number of classifications. Ambiguities, which

are inherent in human language, can be recognised in the analysis. For example, the

word "red" could be used in a corpus to signify the colour red, or as a political

categorisation (i.e. socialism or communism). In a qualitative analysis both senses of red

in the phrase "the red flag" could be recognised. The main disadvantage of qualitative

approaches to corpus analysis is that their findings cannot be extended to wider

populations with the same degree of certainty that quantitative analyses can. This is

because the findings of the research are not tested to discover whether they are

statistically significant or due to chance (Cohen and Crabtree, 2006).

It should be noted that research methods in the social sciences are characterised by two

basic philosophical traditions, that is phenomenological and positivist, which find

expression in qualitative and quantitative methods. However, a qualitative approach

reflects a historical, intuitive or observational approach that attempts to seek a deeper

understanding of complex situations. It is often exploratory in nature, more holistic and

'emergent', with specific focus, design, measurement instruments, and interpretations

developing and possibly changing along the way. Qualitative researchers operate under

the assumption that reality is not easily divided into discrete, measurable variables.

41

Researchers are often described as the research instrument because the bulk of the data

collection is dependent on their personal involvement (interviews and observation) in the

natural setting (Braun and Clarke, 2006).

For this study, the researcher still maintains that the usage of the qualitative research

approach was appropriate irrespective of its limitation, because it brought an

understanding of the research topic and solved the research problem by drawing from the

participants’ responses, to bring about a less complex and detailed understanding of the

muthi murder in Butterworth.

3.4 SPATIAL DELIMITATION/AREA OF THE STUDY

Figure 3: Map of Butterworth

The study was conducted in 2 rural communities of Butterworh in the Eastern Cape of

South Africa. The study was confined in Toleni and Nkcunkcuzo villeges which are

42

located in Butterworth. The researcher specially selected these 2 rural areas because

they are marked as areas where various muthi murder have been happening. Community

members from the 2 areas are living in fear and live an uncomfortable life due to multiple

muthi murder incidences that have been perpetrated by the killers in the two respective

areas.

3.5 STUDY POPULATION This study was intended to establish the perceptions of the Butterworth community

members towards factors that influence muthi killings. As a result, the study chose a

relevant population in order to accomplish the objectives of the study and to answer the

research questions for this study. The researcher has chosen two villages in Butterworth,

where the population has been sampled utilizing the purposive sampling techniques.

Norman (2000:121) defined population as the entire set of objects and events of groups

of people. It would have been inappropriate to use the entire population for the purposes

of this study. The population for the study comprised of all the commuters of Toleni and

Nkcunkcuzo rural areas, who have any knowledge of the phenomenon under study.

3.6 SAMPLING METHODS AND PROCEDURES Barker (2003) asserted that a sample is a small portion of the total set of objects, events

or persons from which a representative selection is made. Strydom (2007) agrees with

Unrau (2007) that a sample comprises elements or a subset of the population considered

for actual inclusion in the study, or it can be viewed as a subset of measures drawn from

a population in which we are interested. The sample of this study was 25 butterworth

community member of which 15 participants were from Tholeni village and 10 from

Nkcunkcuzo village. These are community members that have encountered the incidents

of muthi killings that took place in their villages. The reason for this sampling size is to

have a number of different explanations and perceptions of community members towards

factors that influence muthi killings. Dworkin (2012) asserts that qualitative sample size is

usually small because qualitative research methods are often concerned with gathering

an in-depth understanding of a phenomenon or meanings which are often centred on the

how and why of a particular issue, process, situation, subculture, scene or set of social

interactions.

43

These 25 selected participants had to satisfy the following conditions to be selected to

the study: they had to be Butterworth, Toleni or Nkcunkcuzo commuters with 5 or more

years of residing in these communities, either female of male, from any social-economic

background and must have a knowledge of the muthi murder that has been happening in

these areas. The motive behind outlining the characteristics of the participants was to

portray comprehensiveness of the study and the credibility of the information collected by

the researcher for the purpose of this study. The sample consisted of people that have

been residing in the locations for a longer period of time and therefore experienced the

dynamics of the area, more especially when it comes to muthi killings in this context.

Notwithstanding such, the participants have experienced numerous incidents of muthi

killings despite their duration in the villages of Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo. Another reason

for the researcher to opt for this sample is the common experiences that this segment of

the community is sharing, particularly as it relates to muthi killings in Tholeni and

Nkcunkcuzo village. Furthermore, the sample shared geographical proximity to where the

incidents of muthi killings took place in different occasions. The other fundamental

characteristic is that the sampled people have spent more than 5 years of residence in

Tholeni and Nkcunckuzo villages. Some of them have been residents of Tholeni and

Nkcunkcuzo villages since birth. The researcher has therefore deemed relevant to include

the sample for the purposes of this study

The participants (25 Butterworth community members) were selected by using a

purposive sampling technique. Strydom and Delport (2012) state that in purposive

sampling a particular case is chosen because it illustrates some feature or process that

is of interest for a particular study, although this does not simply imply any case we

happen to choose. Creswell (2007:125) argues that purposive sampling is used in

qualitative research and that participants and sites are selected that can carefully inform

an understanding of the research problem of the study. According to Patton and Michael

(2002:34) “purposive sampling involves identifying and selecting individuals or groups of

individuals that are especially knowledgeable about or experienced with the phenomenon

of interest.”

44

Sarantakos, (2005:164) states that in purposive sampling the researchers purposely

choose subjects who, in their opinion, are relevant to the project. The author further states

that the choice of participants is guided by the judgement of the researcher. Purposive or

judgemental sampling involves selecting elements for the sample that the researcher’s

judgement and prior knowledge suggests will best serve the purposes of the study and

provide the best information (Sullivan, 2001: 209). The researcher judged who could take

part in the study based on the sample characteristics elucidated above. The rationale for

choosing this sampling technique stems from the notion that the participants would be

able to provide the reach information concerning the phenomenon under study.

Therefore, researcher used a purposive sampling where the focus was on particular

participants who will serve the purpose of the study.

3.7 DATA COLLECTION METHODS The following is the discussion pertaining to the data collection technique the researcher

used to collect data.

3.7.1 Interviews

According to the Centre for Civil Society (2003: 73), an interview “refers to any person-

to-person interaction between two or more individuals with a specific purpose in mind.”

Interviews are the most commonly employed method to collect data from people. Punch

(2014) defines interview as a prominent data collection tool in qualitative research which

is a good way of accessing people’s perceptions, meanings, definitions of situations and

constructions of reality. Interviews are suitable for this study because they allowed the

researcher to gain a greater insight on the perceptions and experiences of Butterworht

community members on muthi murder incidents that have been occurring in Toleni and

Nkcunckuzo villages.

The following types of interviewing methods used in this study:

3.7.1.1 Semi-structured interviews

Data collection for this study was based on semi-structured interviews. Semi-structured

interviews were conducted on an individual basis. It combined a set of pre-determined

questions that enabled the interviewer to explore further particular themes and responses.

45

The semi-structured interview was appropriate for this study because it allowed for a free

and open dialogue with the interviewees (Butterworth commuters) and provided a unique

opportunity to acquire in-depth information about their perceptions on muthi killings that

have been happening in their respective communities. This method of interview (semi-

structured) allowed for a great degree of flexibility and prompted participants to speak on

issues that were relevant to this research.

Semi- structured interviews were constructed in such a way that less-sensitive questions

were asked at the beginning of the interview and more sensitive questions in the middle,

once the research participant was comfortable to participate in the presence of the

researcher. The advantage of a semi-structured interview technique was that it allowed

participants the freedom to express their views in their own terms and discuss issues

beyond the question’s limits (May 2001, Struwig and Stead, 2013). This ensured that

participants in this research were given the opportunity to express themselves in their

own words on their perceptions of muthi killings in their rural communities of Butterworth.

Semi-structured interviews also provide reliable, comparable qualitative data (Cohen and

Crabtree, 2006:168).

This study adopted interview schedule guide, which had set of questions developed at

the beginning of the study (see Appendix C). These questions were drawn from the study

objectives and planned in line to answer the research questions. The Interviews were

held in comfortable venues (homes of the participants). Before each interview begun,

participants were informed about the purpose of the study, their role in the study and lastly

their rights to participant or decline to participate at any given time during the study. Each

interview started with the introduction of the research study and the purpose of the

interview. Each interview was conducted in the language of the participant’s choice. The

purpose for this was to allow the participants to be comfortable and to freely express

themselves. Individual interview session took approximately 45 minutes to an hour to

completion, depending on how much information was given by the participant and ended

with each participant being given the opportunity to ask any question he/she might have.

All interviews were recorded using a voice recorder; participants consent was requested

to audio record the interviews. The advantage of using an electronic recorder is that “it

46

allows the researcher the opportunity to listen to the flow of discussion and the exact

vocabulary used by informants” (Activist Guide to Research and Advocacy, 2003:74).

Audio recording allowed the researcher to capture all the essential information that was

relevant to this study. Once all the information was recorded, the researcher transcribed

the completed interviews.

The participants expanded and shared their experiences and dwell much on the issues

that affected as far as the muthi murder is concerned. During the interviews, the

researcher over emphasized the ethical considerations. The researcher explained to the

participants that the information they divulge will be kept confidential and their names or

any identifier will be anonymous. The researcher explained to them that, they have a right

to stop participating at any point during the interviews if they feel to do so.

3.8 CHALLENGES ENCOUNTERED DURING DATA COLLECTION a) Participants were not comfortable to talk about the issue of muthi murder;

b) Some participants declined from the study and refused to participant due to

sensitive nature of the this study;

c) Language barrier was an issue, there were no words in English to iSiXhosa and

vice versa to translate the meaning. Most of the commuter are speaking Xhosa, so

it was difficult to reach them using English;

d) Some participants refused to be tape recorded, then a researcher had to capture

their responses/answers. It took time for him to record everything as he was

listening trying to make sense of the answers and on the other hand try to write.

This process was not favourable.

3.9 DATA ANALYSIS According to Hancock et al. (2009: 24), “data analysis in a research project involves

summarising the mass of data collected and presenting the results in a way that

communicates the most important features.” This study employed a thematic analysis

approach. A thematic analysis is a method that “pays attention to describing both the

implicit and explicit data, through a thorough process of identifying, analysing and

reporting pattern (themes) within the data” (Braun and Clarke, 2006: 6). To analyse data,

Braun and Clarke’s (2006) guide to thematic analysis was used, (see table 1, below).

47

Exploratory data of this study was generated through the semi-structured interview, and

this was presented in terms of a thematic analysis. The thematic analysis has six steps

which the researcher followed to analyse collected data. Once the interviews were

completed the researcher took 4 days to just listen to the interview’s recordings, listening

carefully to what the participants were saying. The qualitative data was therefore

transcribed and translated into English. The researcher listened to the voice recordings

while writing down word-for-word, and later translating and transcribing them into English

as most of the interviews were conducted in IsiXhosa. This was done 2-4 day after

interviews to allow the researcher to recall any relevant information that was of relevance

to the study. This step also included reading and re-reading the data, to ensure that the

researcher was familiar with the data. During the second phase out of the raw data the

researcher code the data, this was done by underlining interesting features that were

relevant to the research questions of this study. The researcher then identified relevant

themes to this study. According to Mbewe (2017), this is searching for themes entailed,

identifying recurrent patterns of responses from the participants. The fifth step involved

reviewing, defining and naming themes and reducing them to meaningful themes.

Thereafter, the researcher analysed the data under the identified themes to present and

discuss the findings of the data in an understandable way. The following table, presents

the process and steps the researcher followed when analysing the data.

Table 2: Steps in thematic analysis

Phase Description of process 1. Familiarising yourself

with your data:

The researcher performed transcribing data by reading

and re-reading the data, noting down initial ideas.

2.Generating initial codes: Then the researcher coded interesting features of the

data in a systematic fashion across the entire data set,

collating data relevant to each code.

3.Searching for themes Collating codes into potential themes, gathering all data

relevant to each potential theme.

48

4.Reviewing themes Checking if the themes work in relation to the coded

extracts (Level 1) and the entire data set (Level 2),

generating a thematic ‘map’ of the analysis.

5.Defining and naming

themes

On-going analysis to refine the specifics of each theme,

and the overall story the analysis tells, generating clear

definitions and names for each theme.

6.Producing the report The final opportunity for analysis. Selection of vivid,

compelling extract examples, final analysis of selected

extracts, relating back of the analysis to the research

question and literature, producing a scholarly report of

the analysis.

Source: Braun and Clarke’s (2006) guide to thematic analysis

3.10 METHODS TO ENSURE TRUSTWORTHINESS Streubert et al. (2003: 364) describe trustworthiness as “establishing the validity and

reliability of qualitative research.” However, researchers have argued that these terms

are no longer applicable to measure trustworthiness of a qualitative studies (Babbie and

Mouton, 2011:276-278; Marshall and Rossman, 2016:44-48). Qualitative research is

trustworthy when it accurately represents the experiences of the study participants. For

the purpose of this study, four elements were used to ensure trustworthiness of this study,

i.e. credibility, dependability, transferability and confirmability.

3.10.1 Credibility

Credibility defined as the confidence that can be placed in the truth of the research

findings (Holloway and Wheeler, 2002; Macnee and McCabe, 2008) or “the participant

opinions and the interpretation and representation of them by the researcher” (Streubert

Speziale and Carpenter, 2003:38).

To enhance the credibility of this study the researcher spent a considerable amount of

time with the study participants in their natural setting – butterworth in order better

understand them and gain insight into their lives, to build trust and to minimises the

distortions of information that might arise due to the presence of the researcher in the

field (Anney, 2014). Data were also captured verbatim as field notes and by using a voice

49

recorder to allow validation later when out of the field. Participants were interviewed to

the point at which there was data saturation (prolonged engagement), no new information

was mentioned. Moreover, the researcher returned to the study participants to check

whether the transcribed data was a truthful version of their experiences (Holloway, 2005).

3.10.2 Transferability

Transferability refers to the degree to which the results of qualitative research can be

transferable to other situations or groups with other participants (Korstjens and Moser,

2018). Researchers should provide enough information on the informants and the

research context to enable the reader to assess the findings capability of being “fit” or

transferable (Streubert Speziale and Carpenter 2003:39).

A dense or thick description of the participants’ experiences, regarding their

interpretations and feelings of the phenomenon was discussed sufficiently to allow

comparison of applicability or transferability of the data to another context. The findings

of this research can be applied to a similar situation, as the researcher used a purposive

sampling method in order to maximise the range of specific information that could be

obtained from the participants about the phenomenon. The researcher is of the view that

the research findings of this study can be applied to similar context.

3.10.3 Dependability

Dependability refers to the “stability of research findings over time.” Dependability

involves participants’ evaluation of the findings, interpretation and recommendations of

the study such that all are supported by the data as received from participants of the study

(Korstjens and Moser, 2018:3), dependability is related to consistency of findings

(Holloway, 2005). This means that if the study were repeated in a similar context with the

same participants, the findings would be consistent (Holloway, 2005). The researcher

ensured dependability for this study by conforming to the following procedures:

• Conducted semi-structured interviews with the participants and asked mostly open-

ended questions that could be answered openly and honestly;

• Asked the study participants the same interview questions to address the study

objectives and research questions under investigation;

50

• Confidentiality of the participants was guaranteed and that their interviews were

conducted in seclusion;

• Used relevant sources from the literature that intensified this study;

• The supervisor conducted an audit trail, by going through the raw data, analysis notes,

and coding notes;

• Enough description of participants experiences and the methods used were aimed at

enabling the reader who wishes to apply the findings to other settings transferability

principle;

• The researcher also coded the same data twice over a period of one week between

each coding, the result from the six coding were compared to see if the result were

the same or different. Dependability was reached as the coding result were the same.

Anney (2014:7) states that this “helps the researcher gain a deep understanding of

data patterns and improves the presentation of participants’ narrations.”

3.10.4 Conformability

The purpose of confirmability is to illustrate that the evidence and thought processes give

another researcher the same conclusions as in the research context (Streubert et al.

2003:38). Confirmability is “concerned with establishing that data and interpretations of

the findings are not figments of the inquirer’s imagination but are clearly derived from the

data” (Tobin and Begley, 2004:392). The researcher conducted the data analysis, and

the supervisor did an audit trail of the verbatim descriptions, categories and themes.

3.11 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS In this section of the chapter the researcher presented the ethical considerations to be

adhered to during the course of collecting data from the participants.

3.11.1 Informed consent

The researcher informed the respondents about the participation in the study, the risks,

the benefits and the willingness of the respondents to participate in the research. The

researcher gave respondents time to decide about their participation. Explaining clearly

what the research is all about. Respondents had the right to discontinue at any time during

the course of the study if they wished to do so. In other words freedom to discontinue by

respondents in the study was guaranteed.

51

3.11.2 Confidentiality

The participants’ information was handled in a confidential manner. The researcher

ensured privacy.The researcher allowed the respondents to decide where, when, and to

whom and to what extent his /her beliefs and behaviour will be revealed. Personal and

sensitive information collected from the respondents was protected. The researcher

assured that whatever information provided would never be revealed other than carefully

analysed information.

3.11.3 Anonymity

The data was anonymous, meaning the researcher removed the contributor’s name. The

respondents’ identity was protected. The researcher aimed to assure participants that

every effort was made to ensure that the data they provided would not be traced back to

them in reports, presentations and other forms of dissemination. The researcher reputed

this study as a sensitive one; therefore anonymity of the respondents was strictly

prioritised.

3.11.4 Withdrawal/discontinuance

Participants were allowed to leave the study at any time if they felt uncomfortable. They

were allowed to withdraw their data. The researcher had informed them at the beginning

that they have the right to withdraw and they were not forced to continue if they did not

want to. This was emphasised and made explicit by the researcher to the respondents

that they were allowed to withdraw at any stage during the data collection.

3.12 SUMMARY In this chapter the researcher outlined the methods and tools that were employed in the

collection and analysis of data for the purposes of this study. Such methods were

essential for the accomplishment of the objectives of this study. The sampling and

sampling size were explained and the characteristics thereof. Furthermore, the

researcher has explained that there were no major limitations experienced in the study

52

and the participants were willing to participate in the research. The next is a presentation

of data analysis and presentation of findings.

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF STUDY FINDINGS

4.1 INTRODUCTION The fundamental purpose of this chapter is to present discussions on the findings,

interpretation and analysis of the collected data. The primary aim of the study was to

determine the explanations and perceptions of the Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo community

members towards factors that influence muthi killings in Butterworth, in the E.C. The

major issues for investigation were as follows:

• What are the perceptions of community members on factors influencing muthi

killings in Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni, Butterworth, E.C.?

• What could be the contributory factors to muthi killings in Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni,

E.C.?

• What are common MOs of muthi murderers to harvest body parts in Nkcunkcuzo

and Tholeni, E.C.?

53

• How effective are the strategies employed by relevant stakeholders in responding

to muthi killings in the Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni of E.C.?

The researcher employed the anomy and general strain theory in this study. The anomy

theory embraces the notion that people in society are committing crime because of

normlessness in the society. This provided a scientific word of reason in order to give a

response to the research questions of this study; why do people commit muthi killings in

Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni, in Butterworth in the Eastern Cape. The General Strain Theory

was employed as well and it argues that what matters is the pressure that is put onto

people to commit crime in the society. This is very imperative in the accomplishment of

the primary objectives of this study which is to get the explanations and perceptions of

the people towards factor that influence muthi killings. Furthermore, the theoretical

framework is the basis for an extensive explanation of why people commit muthi murders

in Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni, Butterworth, in the Eastern Cape. In this segment of the

study the data was collected through interviews with the participants. This chapter

presented findings obtained through data analysis and verified by means of literature

control. Creswell (1994:20) purports that, ‘’ in a qualitative study, literature should be used

inductively”. In other words, the research findings must be compared and contrasted with

the already existing literature.

The researcher used the narratives that were provided by the participants in order to

support the identified themes and subthemes. The researcher as well compared and

contrasted the findings of this study with the existing theories.

4.2 THEME ONE: FINDINGS ON EXPLANATIONS AND PERCEPTIONS OF NKCUNKCUZO AND THOLENI COMMUNITY MEMBERS TOWARDS MUTHI KILLINGS Under this theme, the researcher intended to solicit participants’ perceptions towards

muthi killings. The respondents provided a wide range of rich perceptions (data) as far as

the topic is concerned in this study. This theme is derived from the data collected in

accordance with the first objective of this study which is to investigate the explanations

54

and perceptions of Nkcnkcuzo and Tholeni community members on the factors that

influence muthi killings.

The study primarily established that people who are mostly experienced with regards to

the events of muthi killings are older people that have resided in the area since birth. This

is an indication that the phenomenon of muthi killings is not new but has rather occurred

even in the olden days. However, the killings have ascended to larger numbers.

The study discovered that people who are likely to be victims of muthi killings are children,

women and people with disabilities. This is attributed to the fact that this is the segment

of people in our society that are vulnerable and incapable of physically defending

themselves. This does not mean that this is the only section of the community that is a

target for the muthi killings but the community members in entirety are agitated and afraid

of muthi killers.

The participants stated: The participants have shared the same sentiments about what

must be done to people who commit muthi murders and their associates, hence the

researcher has written only one response to express the sentiments.

‘’I do not know when they will come to my house and kill me and my children, I feel like

these muthi murderers need to be isolated completely from our community…..I mean real

(nodding head)’’.

Mihalik and Yusuf (1990:10) postulate that Mr Justice Le Roux a sole commissioner, on

witchcraft related crimes revealed that discontent in Venda focused mainly on muthi

murders involving powerful businessmen, politicians and civil servants. The commission

also found that muthi murder was an extremely complex issue which caused tremendous

emotional stress in Venda communities.

The study has shown that the Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni community members are

experiencing a similar trauma that was encountered by Venda people, as explicitly

presented in the literature.

The participant has stated: All the participants shared the same sentiments

55

‘’ I wish all these people who are committing muthi murder can be alienated from our

community because we are very scared of them, I wish they can be detained and

sentenced to many lives in jail because their presence amongst us means our death’’.

The study has further shown that there is a sizeable amount of anger more than fear that

is directed to the muthi murderers. This type of feeling is secondary to the perception of

fear that the community members have of muthi killings in Nkcunckuzo and Tholeni

villages.

The study has revealed that these muthi murders are taking place mostly during winter

season. This perception can be attributed to the darkness that always covers early

evenings and dawns of the winter days.

The participants stated:

‘’Most of the muthi murders that I know in this village took place during the winter season,

it’s only one incident that took place in August 2017 and it was during summer time’’.

‘’ Out of ten (10) muthi murders that took place in this village seven (7) of them are

committed during winter season’’.

‘’ Although as the older people we love the winter season, it has become a curse to us as

it makes us vulnerable to muthi murderers’’.

The study has shown that there is high level of respect for the law in Nkcunkcuzo and

Tholeni community members. This is evident from similar responses that were provided

by the informants during the interviews. They indicated that they did not want to take law

into their hands by assaulting anyone who has committed muthi killings. To express the

extent of confidence in the police they stated that ever since the intervention of

government to the incidents of muthi killings, the killings have decreased drastically

compared to the previous years.

The participants stated:

56

‘’If we can kill the muthi murderers when we apprehend them, we would be killers

ourselves and thereby taking the law into our hands. Hence we quickly phone the police

when such murders (muthi murders) occur’’.

‘’Ever since the intervention of the SAPS, the muthi murders have decreased drastically

and we are content with the service by SAPS’’.

Other participants have expressed a feeling of anger towards the incidents of muthi

killings. They even blame the lenience of the criminal justice system. A theoretical

perspective is given by the researcher in this regard. The General Strain Theory argues

that when people are subjected to strain they are forced to get upset and commit crime.

In the context of this study, the Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo community members are

subjected to an unbearable strain of muthi killings wherein they lose their loved ones and

be at risk to be killed as well. From a theoretical perspective the reaction of the community

members to get angry and apprehend the muthi murderers and kill them can be justifiable

in the argument of the general Strain Theory.

The study established that there is a huge difference in the reaction between males and

females towards muthi killings. The males are the ones who expressed a feeling of anger,

whereas female expressed fear and discomfort towards muthi killings. The literature

indicates that males have higher crime rates than females, with the gender gap in crime

being highest for serious violent crimes. Furthermore the research on gender, stress and

anger, however, challenges the view that males are angrier than their female counterpart

(Agnew & Broidy, 1997:57).

The study has shown that the muthi murderers are too secretive about who has hired

them and who their associates in such related crimes are. This type of attitude is typical

of criminals; however this raises a lot of concern for the community. The study established

that the stealthy nature of the muthi murderers is in protection of the people that have

hired them to commit muthi murders.

4.3 THEME TWO: PERPETRATORS OF MUTHI MURDERS Under this theme the researcher intended to have different explanations from the

participants about their experiences of incidents of muthi killings and their understanding

57

of the reasons why people commit muthi killings in Tholeni and Nkcunckuzo villages.

Furthermore, the researcher wanted to accomplish the second objective of this study

which is to establish why people commit muthi killings in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo village.

The study established that people who commit muthi murders do it for mainly two reasons;

to get rich and obtain power. This sentiment is shared by all the participants in the current

study. The data collected reflected that people who hire muthi murderers are people who

want human body parts to make muthi in order to be rich or to obtain political power.

There is an apparent correlation between the conclusions made by the Le Roux

commission (1990) and Ralushai commission (1996) provided the motive behind [their]

formulation. The human sacrifice or muthi murders are committed for the purposes of self-

enrichment and upliftment of certain elite people, such as chiefs, politicians, business

people, in the communities where they are practiced.

Evans (1991:190) cited in Mihalik and Cassim (1990:59) and Roelofse (2009:) that the

muthi killings are indeed practiced by the certain individuals of high social status, in the

context of the human social setting with regards to business people, politicians, chiefs

and other social authorities being implicated as well.

The participants all shared the same sentiments that the fundamental cause for people

to commit muthi murders is to get rich and to maintain their social power or status in the

communities. Although the participants were reluctant to be specific but the researcher

picked it up that politicians and business people are the ones who hire people to commit

muthi murders in order to accomplish their mission. This position is reinforced by Evens

(1991:101) who assert that some types of muthi increase the presence and personality

and presence of the individual using muthi. People needing to reinforce their social and

financial positions use these sorts of medicines (human body parts made), which are

reputed to be powerful. Historically, in Lesotho, muthi made from human flesh was

officially used only by the more important chiefs. In the 20th Century in Swaziland, the

king was the only person who was permitted to use this most powerful muthi. The users

of human muthi were restricted to persons of high social status in order to avoid

challenges to authority (Evens, 1991:101).

58

The study has shown that the poor people are the ones who are mostly likely to be hired

to commit muthi murders. The literature comments that much of the crime that takes place

in South Africa is economically motivated. Perhaps its most particular feature is the low

value which human life is able to command in the criminal market (Louise, 2008). This

effectively means that poor people are hell-burnt with vertical upward mobility in the

broader economic spectrum. Furthermore, there is an amount of strain to which the poor

people are subjected to by rich people. Lubschagne (2004:15) comments that the rate of

muthi murders signals a very worrying trend in South Africa.

4.3.1 THEORETICAL AND LITERATURE ANALYSIS

Agnew and Passas (1997:4) compared General Strain Theory to Control Theory and

Social Learning, they further concluded that strain theory is focused on the pressure that

is placed on the individual to commit crime (Agnew, 1992:49). This theoretical perspective

is accommodative of the collected data in this study. The people that are committing muthi

murders in the context of this study are people that are poor and of lower social status.

Therefore, as far as the General Strain Theory is concerned the muthi murderers are

subjected to pressure that is placed upon them to commit crime. Furthermore, the

General Strain Theory is based on the general idea that when people are treated badly

they can react and commit crime. The Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni community members do

feel the strain and sometimes they are tempted to kill the muthi murderers but they always

observe the rule of law. This is a profound extension in the theoretical analysis of the

General Strain Theory.

The findings of this study are envisaged in the Anomie theory. This theory argued that a

society may be anomic if people do not know when to quit striving for success, or how to

treat other people along the way. Whichever way this theory may be described it speaks

on the breakdown either in the rules of society or the moral norms, and it is clear that

Durkheim was talking about a disruption of normal societal norms (Williams, 2014). The

muthi murders that take place in Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni villages are committed by

people who do not stop to strive for success and thereby breaking and contravening the

social norms and standards of the community. The people that are likely to commit these

59

murders are people who are from the lower social class, who use unacceptable means

to survive and thereby render the society to normlessness.

The participants stated:

‘’The people who are committing muthi murders are poor people just like we are but we

don’t kill people, we work hard for our families’’.

‘’These people are sent by people who want to get rich, however their cruelty towards us

is not justifiable’’.

‘’We are aware that the rich people are using our children to accomplish their dirty mission

because they know that they are unemployed and they need money for various reasons

known to them’’.

Muthi murders take place in South Africa against a backdrop not simply of extreme

poverty, that would be one this, but of extreme economic inequality. Furthermore, muthi

murder is taking place in South Africa today is of a society beset by exceptional levels of

criminality and of violence and murder in particular. Much of the crime that takes place in

South Africa is economically motivated. Perhaps its most particular feature is the low

value which human life is able to command in the criminal market (Louise, 2008:125).

As outlined by the literature used in the study, the researcher is of the view that the

prevalence of muthi killings can be measured by the rate of unemployment, poverty and

inequality. The muthi murders are always concerned about the reward after the murder

than taking into cognisance the essence of human life.

4.4 THEME THREE: MO FOR MUTHI KILLERS IN HARVESTING HUMAN BODY PARTS 4.4.1. Theoretical and literature analysis

Modus operandi of muthi Theme Subthemes

60

Modus operandi

of muthi

murderers when

they harvest

human body parts

• Modus operandi of

muthi murderers

• Specific

discussions on the

modus operandi of

muthi murderers in

Tholeni and

Nkcunkcuzo. • Muthi

murderersand their

victims

• Types of weapons

muthi murderers

use to harvest

human body parts

• Human body parts

that muthi

murderers harvest

• Drug use by muthi

murderers

The MO of muthi killers in Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni in Butterworth, EC.

In this section, the study discussed the subthemes in conjunction with the MO, used by

muthi murderers when attacking the victims for their body parts. In this section of the

study the researcher covered the Tholeni and Nkcunckuzo incidents of muthi killings and

the MO of the muthi murderers thereof. The researcher also made a comparison in the

MO of Tholeni and Nkcunckuzo muthi murderers to that of other muthi murderers in

certain areas of the former Transkei area, in the E.C.

61

• MO of muthi killers when harvesting human body parts The study revealed that muthi murderers in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo are young man,

mostly between the ages of 25-35 years. The study has shown that the muthi murderers

entice their victims with alcohol, money and food. Furthermore, the study revealed that

victims of muthi murders between the ages of 25-36 and are enticed with alcohol by muthi

murders. In addition, they are made to drink alcohol excessively so as to make them get

drunk so as to make them unable to physically defend themselves during the attack and

harvesting of their body parts. Peta (2004:) reported that one of the few victims who lived

to tell his story was Jeffery Mkhonto, who six years ago was mutilated by an organised

gang set up to harvest body parts. He was lured to the house of a neighbor with food and

ended up being castrated (Peta, 2004). This way of attracting victims of muthi murders is

similar to that one which is used by muthi murderers in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo.

The study found that the muthi murderers in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo stab their victims

so that there can be a split of blood coming from the wound of the victim and this usually

happens before they harvest body parts. The spill of the blood from the wound makes the

culprit to be strong and derive bravery from the victim’s agony. The study established that

muthi murderers in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo are using sharp machetes to harvest human

body parts; however that point is going to be further explained on the picture below (figure

1). The study found that the muthi murderers use hammers to knock their victims before

they stab them on the neck so that blood can spill out.

In the news report a young boy by the name of Sello, a 10 year old boy, was hit with a

blunt instrument, causing a gash on his head. The murderers then harvested his body

parts, chopping off penis, one of his hands and an ear for muthi (SABC News, 22 August

2004).Similarly, the Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo muthi murderers hit their victims with a

heavy object before they harvest their body parts. The study drew conclusion that this is

a common method of muthi murderers before they harvest human body parts. The study

established that the motive behind this method is to render the victims unconscious so

that they cannot recognise the murderers because most of the times muthi murderers are

known by the victims of muthi killings.

62

• Specific discussions on the modus MO of muthi murderers in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo

The study found that in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo villages muthi murderers harvest breasts

of women victims, genitalia (penis) of men victims, fingers of a child victim and they extract

blood of all their victims. As reiterated in the paragraph above the muthi murderers in

Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo stab their victims on the neck so that blood can come out of the

wound and by doing such they derive courage out of their victims’ agony. This is the

moment when the muthi murderers extract the blood of their victims and then harvest the

body parts. This study also found that the muthi murderers use sharp machetes, as

depicted in figure 1 below. These are the same weapons they use to intimidate their

victims in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo. Furthermore, the study discovered that muthi

murderers use intimidation in order to instill fear in the victim before they stab and harvest

the body parts.

This study found that many incidents of muthi murderers in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo take

place in the victims’ places where the culprits enter the victim’s place and pretend to be

in need of help, taking advantage that they are known to the victims and certainly get help

from the victim.

Most fundamentally, the study established that muthi murderers harvest human body

parts while the victim is still alive. The study also uncovered that the community members

and neighbors do not quickly discover the corps of the victim of muthi murders and

therefore late reports are made to the police.

• Muthi killers and their victims The study showed that the muthi murderers intimidate their victims before killing them.

They usually intimidate them through swearing at them, showing them dreadful machetes

that they use to harvest human body parts and telling them that they will kill them. This

study established that in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo people who are most likely to be victims

of muthi murderers are women and children. Furthermore, the study revealed that the

Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo muthi murderers subject the victims to emotional and physical

63

abuse before they kill them. This study further established that the victims are usually

known to the perpetrators. On the contrary, the study disagrees with the notion by

Lubschagne (2004) that muthi killings are difficult to investigate because there is no clear

relationship between perpetrator and victim. This is evident in a multitude of research

reports that suggest that the muthi victim is often known to the perpetrators and is easily

lured and murdered in the process.

• The participants stated: The participants are sharing similar comments on the mode of operation.

‘’My cousin here in Tholeni was first raped before her head was cut off by a man who was

here in Tholeni for migration purposes’’.

‘’We found the neighbour’s corps lying by her bedroom, her body had some bruises

showing that she was assaulted while trying to fight back’’.

‘’The culprits are usually people who do not have money to manipulate their victims, they

use violence and intimidation’’.

‘’The victims are usually people who are aged and women, therefore they are subjected

to intimidation’’.

Muthi murderers choose the specific victims as a target based on a general profile that

the traditional healers would have given them. This means the mode of operation of the

muthi murders is strategically orchestrated, from the buyer to the traditional healer, from

the traditional healer to the assailant (muthi murderer), from the muthi murderer to the

victim, from the victim to the main operation i.e. harvesting of human body parts using

intimidating instrument, from there back to the traditional healer and ultimately back to the

buyer according to the need (Minnaar, 2003).

Types of weapons muthi murderers use to harvest human body parts

The study established that the muthi murderers in both Nkcucnkcuzo and Tholeni are

using different types of machetes. An illustration is provided below:

64

Figure 4: Types of Machetes

The above figure illustrates the weapons used by the muthi murderers to harvest human

body parts. It has transpired in Etholeni that muthi murders use the similar weapons as

shown above. Some of the weapons similar to those protruded above were discovered

next to the bodies of the victims whose body parts were mutilated. A Sangoma

interviewed by special assignment in 2011, was of the view that, the murders need very

sharp objects to mutilate the parts (just like those in a figure above). The Sangoma further

stated that, the body parts are removed whilst the victim is still alive so that it makes the

muthi strong. In chapter two of this study, the researcher cited a case report of a black

child whose hands and forearms were on a refuse dump in Boystown Squatter camp,

Langa, Cape Town. The forearms had been dismembered at the elbow joint with a sharp

instrument such as a machete, among the machetes that are illustrated above; a machete

that was used was the panga.

The types of weapons that are used by muthi murderers when they harvest human body

parts in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo are similar to the type of weapons that are used by muthi

65

murderers as discussed in the events above. Notwithstanding such, the study uncovered

that the specific weapons that are used by muthi murderers in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo

are panga, tapanga and cane; these types of weapons are illustrated in the figure above.

• Human body parts that are harvested by muthi murderers The study has established that the muthi murderers in Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni villages

usually harvest head and breast. This was reported to the researcher in the course of

data collection. The incidents of muthi murders in these villages are an evidence of these

reports.

The participants stated:

‘’The two last events of muthi murders I can remember of, the harvested body part was

the head and the other one was the neck…….yes I am correct’’ (nodding the head).

‘’ In another incident the hands were found while the police were searching other body

parts, the incident was clearly a muthi-related killing”.

‘’ If you are a woman your breasts are likely to be cut off, and you will be killed so that you

cannot tell who is responsible for the death’’

The literature comments that the use of human body parts for medicinal purposes is

based in the belief that it is possible to appropriate the life force of one person through its

literal consumption by another. For this reason a victim is often carefully chosen not just

any person’s penis as a cure for male infertility, for instance, but that of a man with several

healthy children. Strangers or enemies are seldom the target of muthi murders (Scholtz

et al., 1997). This study concedes to the notion that human body parts are harvested to

strengthen the power of muthi with which it is mixed for a particular purpose noble to the

users but sinister to the victims of muthi murders.

• Drug use by muthi killers The study revealed that muthi murderers perform theses killings while they are under the

influences of drugs; this includes alcohol, dagga and tsuf (Silverstone looking-like type of

drug).

66

The participant has stated: All the participants expressed the same comments on the subject.

‘’In a majority of the cases these people are under the influences of drugs, hence they

just tend to be animals and have the guts to kill other human beings’’.

In addition, the participants have unanimously echoed the sentiments of the informant

that highlighted the use of drugs by muthi murderers.

4.5 SUMMARY This chapter is a presentation of the interpretation and analysis of the data that has been

collected. The analysis was based on theoretical and literature underpinnings which

allowed the researcher to compare and contrast the research findings to the literature that

already exists. The Anomie and General Strain Theory were utilised for the theoretical

framework of the study. The study found out that the victims of muthi murders are victims

who would have emotional and physical abuse before they die. Furthermore, the mode

of operation of the muthi murderers is common; this is evident from a number of events

that were cited by informants in the course of data collection. Finally the study revealed

that the human body parts are harvested in a vicious and inhumane manner by the muthi

murderers. The next chapter is a presentation of the findings, recommendations and

conclusion of the study.

67

CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSIONS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1 INTRODUCTION This chapter is a presentation of the summary of the findings of this study. In addition the

conclusion, recommendations and suggestions for prospective studies are also

presented. The findings are presented in accordance with and in response to the research

questions and logically aligned to the fundamental objectives of this study. This study is

based on the theoretical underpinnings of Anomie theory and General strain theory. It

attributes its theoretical guidance to those two theories to ensure scientific credibility of

the study and the findings thereof. Rossow (2003: 178-180) cited in Delport and Fouche

(2012) assert that credibility in qualitative research is the concept equivalent to internal

validity in quantitative studies, and as such it refers to the degree to which findings, and

by implication the methods that are used to generate the findings, can be trusted.

Furthermore, a qualitative report might be viewed with more skepticism than a quantitative

report. Therefore, the researcher must take time and effort to ensure that a detailed

account of credible procedures is included in the report (Rossow, 2003:178-180). In this

study the researcher adhered to the theoretical underpinnings and literature to ensure

credibility of the findings of this study. The primary objectives of this study were as follows:

• To evaluate perceptions on factors influencing muthi killings in Nkcunkcuzo and

Tholeni, Butterworth, E.C.

• To determine contributory factors to the escalation of muthi killings.in Nkcunckuzo

and Tholeni, Butterworth, E.C.

• What are common MOs of muthi murderers to harvest body parts in Nkcunkcuzo

and Tholeni, E.C.?

• How effective are the strategies employed by relevant stakeholders in responding

to muthi killings in the Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni of E.C.?

68

Table 3: Depiction of the research objectives, research questions, methods and justifications Research objectives

Research questions

Methodology Justification

Objective One

• To evaluate

perceptions

on factors

influencing

muthi killings

in

Nkcunkcuzo

and Tholeni,

Butterworth,

E.C.

Objective two

What are

the

perceptio

ns of

communit

y

members

on factors

influencin

g muthi

killings in

Nkcunkcu

zo and

Tholeni,

Butterwort

h, E.C.?

Qualitative

methodology

The study

sought to have

a clear and

authentic

perspective of

the community

members

towards the

muthi killings.

Objective two

• To determine

contributory

factors to the

escalation of

muthi

killings.in

What could be

the contributory

factors to muthi

killings in

Nkcunkcuzo and

Tholeni, E.C.?

Qualitative

methodology

To provide a

more scientific

word of reason

on the

incidents of

69

Nkcunckuzo

and Tholeni,

Butterworth,

E.C

muthi killings in

these areas.

Objective three

• To

analysecom

mon M.Os of

muthi

murderers in

harvesting

body parts in

Nkcunkcuzo

and Tholeni,

E.C.

Objective four

What are

common MOs of

muthi murderers

to harvest body

parts in

Nkcunkcuzo and

Tholeni, E.C.?

Qualitative

methodology

Qualitative methodology

The study

sought to get

the apparatus

that the muthi

murderers use

to harvest

human body

parts thereby

getting rid of

speculations

about the

modus

operandi of the

muthi

murderers.

70

• To explore

the

effectiveness

of current

strategies

employed by

relevant

stakeholders

in responding

to muthi

killings in

Nkcunkcuzo

and Tholeni,

E.C..

How

effective

are the

strategies

employed

by

relevant

stakehold

ers in

respondin

g to muthi

killings in

the

Qualitative methodology

A number of

stakeholders

have been

involved in the

fight against

muthi

killings.Theref

ore this study

sought to

estalish the

effectiveness

of the

strategies

employed by

the relevant

stakeholders.

71

Nkcunkcu

zo and

Tholeni of

E.C.?

Table 3 above depicts the objectives of this study which are based on the explanations

and perceptions of the Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo community members towards the factors

that influence muthi killings. Furthermore, research questions are enshrined in this table,

research questions which are answered through an analysis of data collected and findings

thereof. The research methodology for this study was qualitative research methodology

and the justification is also contained in the table above.

5.2. LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY The primary limitation of the study is that the study was conducted in a rural area where

there is the sizeable chunk of the population that is illiterate and fearful to participate in

formal surveys. Furthermore, the community members might be reluctant to be involved

in the cause of the study and this can be attributed to the threat posed by the society and

the families of the people that were directly or indirectly involved in the occurrences of

muthi killings. Although the data was collected from the villages where incidents of muthi

murders took place, the manner in which the information is provided can be distorted and

thereby validity and reliability of the collected data was questionable.

5.3. WAYS OF DEALING WITH THE LIMITATIONS A step by step procedure was followed by the researcher in order to ensure that the

research project accomplishes its objectives. The researcher managed to report to the

South African Police Services about the study, the traditional and civil leaders of the

community were all made aware of the study. The researcher gained access to the

72

communities from the ward councilor. The councilor ascertained the community members

that were participating in the study that access had been granted to the researcher;

therefore they can freely participate in the study. This assurance allowed the participants

to actively participating in the study. The researcher had prepared for the language and

illiteracy that was anticipated. Therefore, there was no challenge encountered by the

participants that can be regarded as limitations of the study.

The researcher took the respondents through an orientation process on what is their role,

rights and responsibility during the course of the study. Delport et al (2012) assert that

the researcher must detail the specific steps they will propose to ensure that the sample

is as representative as possible of the population from which it is drawn (Delport et al,

2012). It is for this reason that the researcher consulted other stakeholders as units of

analysis in order to obtain other important information on the subject under study.

5.4. RESEARCH FINDINGS The study established that the muthi murders are not a new or modern phenomenon in

the area under study, even in the olden days people have had experiences of muthi

murders in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo village. The level of intimidation and threats under

which people of Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni are living and subjected to is unbearable. The

study therefore established that people of these areas are living in disharmony due to the

incidents of muthi killings. The study also found out that there is a level of mistrust among

the community members towards one another; this is a psychological phenomenon that

needs an intervention of the government through social welfare professionals,

criminologists and other social service professionals. Social welfare professionals are

needed to educate the community members on the importance of social harmony,

criminologists to educate the community members on the profound prevalence of muthi

murders in Tholeniand Nkcunkcuzo village, which is their area of residence.

The study established that the segment of inhabitants in those two locations that are likely

to be victims of muthi killings are children and older persons. This, as far as the study is

concerned, can be attributed to the powerless nature of these types of people. In chapter

two (2) of this study a case report is analysed of a young boy whose body parts were

harvested for the purposes of manufacturing muthi, as cited by (Scoltz,. 1997:49). This

73

is what has also been established by this study that the most vulnerable human beings

to muthi murders are children.

Furthermore, the study established that it is rich people and politicians who are likely to

be the reasons for incidents of muthi murders in Etholeni and in Nkcunkcuzo. Business

people want to accumulate their wealth and get rich using muthi. The belief behind this is

that when muthi is mixed with human body parts it is bound to be strong and attract people

to their businesses and thereby tremendously increasing their profit. On the other hand,

the politicians are involved in the incidents of muthi killings in order to maintain their

political power and remain centres of preference to the community members. The study

further discovered that people who are involved in muthi murders do it both to get rich

and social power. The politicians, business people and people of higher social authorities

are the ones who perpetuate muthi murders in order to maintain their social power and

influence and to further protect themselves from any form of danger that can negatively

affect their social status in the community. This is a matter of emphasis because of its

repetitive utterance by the participants in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo village.

It is belief that a muthi mixed with human body part would yield a very powerful muthi.

The report compiled by the commission, Mr Justice Le Roux a sole commissioner, on

witchcraft related crimes revealed that discontent in Venda focused mainly on muthi

murders involving powerful businessmen, politicians and civil servants (Le Roux

commission, 1990). The incidents of muthi murders in Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni are

synonymous with other areas where muthi murders take place.

The study revealed that the poor people are likely to be hired to actually commit muthi

murders. This can be attributed to the social inequalities and unemployment rate in the

communities under study. The study also uncovered the stealthy and secretive nature of

the muthi murderers and further concludes that they strictly hide people who would have

hired them. The general strain theory focuses on the pressure that is placed upon

individuals to commit crime. Therefore, this finding is accommodated in the argument of

the general strain theory, which in this context argues that upper-class people put

pressure on particular individuals to commit muthi murders and pay them small amount

of money in return.

74

The study found out that male community members have a different perception to that of

female community members. The male community members are angered by the incidents

of muthi killings, while on the other side female inhabitants are agitated and intimidated

by the incidents of muthi killings.

The study revealed that muthi murderers intimidate their victims before killing them. There

is a huge amount of intimidation that the victims of muthi killings are experiencing such

as physical and emotional abuse from the perpetrator. This is perceived by the community

members as a form of intimidation for the victim not to recognise the perpetrator or cry for

help. Furthermore, there is a specific target of victims depending on the purpose of the

muthi murder that will determine whether a child’s body parts or an adult body part must

be harvested.

The mode of operation of the muthi murderers is common across those two villages,

Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni location. They use different machetes when they harvest human

body parts. An illustration is made by the researcher on the fourth chapter of the research

report.

The study showed that the human body parts that are frequently harvested in Nkcunkcuzo

and Tholeni are the neck, head and breasts and in some incidents the blood of a human

being is drained for the purposes of manufacturing muthi. The people that perform muthi

killings normally perform thases killings while under the influences of drugs, such as

cocaine, dagga, tsuf (white small stones) and alcohol.

The following discussion pertains to the recommendations of the study emanated from

the findings of the study.

5.5. RECOMMENDATIONS

• The Etholeni and Nkcunkcuzo community leaders must work hand in hand with the

government to establish centres where children, older persons and people with

disabilities, particularly those who are without people to protect them, can be

institutionalised in order to guarantee their safety.

75

• The chiefs of Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzomust collaborate with the social service

professionals in order to address the issues of mistrust among community

members through community development programs.

• The community policing forums of Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo must be capacitated

and their knowledge strengthened by the criminal justice agencies on muthi

murders to avoid confusion about muthi murders with other different types of

murders.

• The government of South Africa must formulate an elementary social curriculum

on muthi killings in order to educate the villagers on the muthi killings from a

criminal justice point of view.

• The legislative framework must be reviewed in order to impose harsher sentences

to the muthi murderers and the accomplices thereof.

• There must be social welfare organisations in Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo villages in

order to take care of those children that have lost their care-givers due to muthi

killings.

• The traditional leaders of Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo must formulate a charter for

community norms and standards to circumvent the use and selling of drugs in the

concerned villages.

• More research projects must be funded in order to get a full understanding of the

causes of muthi killings and to provide a word of scientific reason to the criminal

justice system, particularly as it relates to muthi killings in South Africa.

5.6. SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH • Future researchers should research in order to formulate a social curriculum

design on muthi killings in order to educate the public about muthi killings.

• Future researchers should probe the perceptions and explanations of the victims

of muthi killings in a national context not just on a regional context.

• Future researchers should focus on the review strategy of the criminal justice

system in order to deal with muthi killings.

76

• Future researchers should search for safety mechanisms for the groups that are

vulnerable to muthi killings.

• Future researchers should conduct a comparison study on the modus operandi of

muthi murderers in the broader national and international context.

LIST OF REFERENCES Agnew, R. 1995a.Controlling Delinquency: Recommendations from the Strain Theory.

Boulder: Westview

Agnew, R.1992. “Foundation for a General Strain Theory of Crime and Delinquency”:

Criminology 30:47-87

Agnew, R.,& Passas N. 1997.Foundation for a general strain theory from crime and

delinquency. Criminology: Boulder, West view.

Agnew, R., Nikos, P. 1997. The Nature & Determinants of Strain: Another look at

Durkheim & Merton. Boston, Northeastern University Press.

Babbie, E & Mouton, J.2006. I.The practice of social research. Cape Town, Oxford

University Press.

Babbie, E. 2007. The Practice of Social Research. 11th ed. Belmont: Thomson

Wadsworth.

Bandura, A. 1971. Social Learning: Stanford University.

Bayens, P.D. & Roberson, J. E. 2011. Practical research: Planning and design. Upper

Saddle River, Pearson Merril Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

Bhattacherjee. 2012. Social Science Research: Principles, Methods and Practices (2 ed.).

Tampa, FL. USA, Open Access Textbooks.

Blaikie, N.2000.Designing Social Research: The Logic of Anticipation. Massachusetts.

Blackwell.

77

Blaikie, N.2000.Designing Social Research. Polity Press: Cambridge. United Kingdom.

Braun, V & Clarke, V.2006. Using thematic analysis in Psychology: Qualitativeresearch

in Psychology, 3 (2). Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/11735, Accessed on

2018/07/18.

Cartens, P. 2003. The cultural defense in criminal Law: African perspective issue.

Camaroff, J. 1993. Modernity and its malcontents: Ritual and Power in Postcolonial Africa.

Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Centre for Civil Society. 2003. Activist Guide to Research and Advocacy. Centre for Civil

Society, University of KwaZulu Natal. (URL address missing)

Cohen, D. & Crabtree, B. 2006. Qualitative research guidelines project. Robert Wood,

Johnson Foundation.

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996, (Act 108 of 1996).

Cotton, D.J. & Groth, A.N. 1982. Inmate rape: Prevention and intervention. Journal of

Correctional centre and Jail Health.

Creswell, J.W. 2003. Research design: Qualitative, quantintative and mixedmethods

approaches, 2nd ed. Sage, London.

Creswell, J.W. 2004. Research Design: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. SAGE

Publications: Thousand Oaks, C.A.

Creswell, J.W. 2004. Research Design: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. SAGE

Publications.

Creswell, J.W. 1994.Research Design: Qualitative and Quantitative approaches. SAGE

Publishers, London.

Creswell J.W.2007. Research Design: Qualitative and Quantitative approaches. SAGE

Publishers, London.

Delport, C.B., Fouche, C.B., De Vos, A.S. & Strydom, H. 2011. Research at grass roots.

Van Schaik, South Africa.

78

Depoy J. & Gilson, F. 2008. Comprehensive Handbook of Social work and Welfare. John

Wiley and Sons, Inco.

Edward, J.1995 Source: Social work research. Vol. 19: 29-32

Evans, T.D.1991. The social consequences of self-control: Testing the general theory of

crime. Volume 35, Issue.

Evans, T.D. 1997. The Social consequences of Self-control: Testing the general theory

of crime. Volume 35, Issue.

Fontaine, J. 2011. Ritual murder. Interventions Series 3: Open Anthropology Cooperative

Press.

Fuzile, Z. 2008. Monster in Butterworth. Daily Dispatch. 8 August, p.3.

Hammond-Tooke, W.D. 1958. The tribes of King Williams Town district. The government

Printer, Pretoria.

Hammond-Tooke, W.D. 1989. Ritual and Medicines.Indigenous healing in S.A.

Johannesburg: AD Donker.

Hebster, J. and Watson, R. 2002. Analyzing the Post to Prepare for the Future: Writing a

Literature Review. MIS Quarterly.

Igbinovia, P.E. 1988. Ritual murders in Nigeria: International journal of Offender Therapy

and Criminology. Vol.32 No. 137

Jane, W. & Richard, T. 2002. Analyzing the past to prepare for the future: Writing a

literature review. University of Minnesota.

Jensen, E. (http://www.writingcenter.utah.edu/). Accessed 25-10-2016

Jensen, E. 2016.Doing a real research: Apractical guide to Social Research. SAGE

Publishers Ltd: 1st Edition.

Jones, I. 1960. Structure and process in modern societies. Free Press.United States.

Kertzer, D.I.1988.Ritual politics and Power. New Haven: Yale University Press

79

Labuschagne, G. 2004. Features and Investigative implications of muti murders in South

Africa: Journal of investigative psychology and offender profiling. Wiley Interscience

Publishers.

Louise, V. 2008. Tribes & Tribal: Special volume No. 2: 43-53

Mihalik, J. and Cussim, Y.1992. Ritual murder and witchcraft: Apolitical weapon. South

African Law.Journal 3, 127-140

Minnaar, A. 2001.Witchpurging and muti murder in South Africa: The legislative and legal

challenges to combating these practices with specific reference to thee Witchcraft

Suppression Act (No.3 of 1957, amended by Act No. 50 of 1970). African legal studies 2:

1-21.

Minnaar, A. 2015. Children as victims and targets for muti murder in S.A. UNISA

Minnaar, A. 2003. Legislative and Legal challenges to combating witch purging & muti

murders in South Africa. Witchcraft violence and the law in S.A. Pretoria. Protea Book

House.

Mihalik, J. 2011. Ritual murder and witchcraft: A political weapon. University of

Bophutatswane.

McShane, D.& Willims, P. 2014. Criminological Theory. Pearson Education Limited: USA.

Ngubane, H.1986. The predicament of the sinister healer: Some observations on ritual

murder and the professional role of the inyanga. Manchester University Press,

Manchester.

Ngubane, H. 1977. Body & Mind in Zulu medicine. London academic press

Neuman, W.L. 2011. Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches.

Pearson education, London, United Kingdom.

Niehaus, I. 2000. Coins for blood and blood for coins: From sacrifice to ritual murder in

the South African Lowveld. Stichting Etnofoor.

Niehaus, I. 2001. Witchcraft, Power and Politics: Exploring the occult in the South African

Lowveld. David Phillip, Cape Town.

80

Orru, M. 1987. Anomie, History and Meanings. Allen & Unwin, Inco. London.

Scholtz, H.J., Phillips, V.M. & Knobel G.J.1997. “Muti or RitualMurder”. Forensic Science

International. 87(1997), pp117-122.

Strydom, H.,& De Vos, A.S. 2012. Research at Grass Roots: For the social sciences and

human service professions. Van Schaik Publishers.

Strydom, H., & Delport, C.B 2011 Research at grass roots. Van Schaik, South Africa.

Steyn, M. 2005. Muti murders form in South Africa: A case study. University of Pretoria

Pelzer K. 2000. Acto. Criminologica, Vol. 14 issue 2.

Petrus, T.2004. A proposal towards a theory on witchcraft-related crime in post-colonial

South Africa. NMMU Acta Criminilogia.

Petrus, T. 2007. An Anthropological study of Witchcraft-related crime in the Eastern Cape

and its implications for law enforcement policy and practice: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan

University.

Petrus, T.2009 An Anthropological study of witchcraft-related crime in the EasternCape

and its implications for law enforcement policy and practice. NMMU.

Petrus, T.2012. Influence, Insecurities and evil: The political and Economic context of

witchcraft-related crime in the E.C South Africa.

Punch, K. F.1998. Introduction to Social Research: Qualitative and Quantitative

Approaches. SAGE, London

Punch, K.F. 2005.Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches, 2nd ed. SAGE, London.

Punch, F.K. 2005. Developing effective research proposal. SAGE, London.

Punch, K.F. 2013. Introduction to social research: Quantitative and qualitative

approaches. Sage Publication, London.

Sibanyoni E.K. 2018. A victimological analysis of physical disabled children as victims of

violence in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. PhD Thesis. University of KwaZulu Natal.

81

Struwig, F. & Stead, G. 2013. Research: Planning, Designing and Reporting. Pearson

Education South Africa, Cape Town.

Roelofse, C. 2010 Ritual and Muti murders amongst the Vha-Vendapeople of South

Africa. An ethnographic assessment of the phenomenon: University of Limpompo

Ralushai, N.V., Masingi M.G. Madibi, D.D., & Van Den Heever J.A 1996.Report of the

Commission of Enquiry into witchcraft violence and ritual murders in the Northern

Province of South Africa. To: His Excellency the Honorable Member of the Executive

Council for Safety and Security, Northen Province. South Africa

Sarantakos, S. 1988.2nd Edition.Social Research. Macmillan Press, London.

Sarantakos, S.2000. Social Research. South Yarra: Macmilliam Education Australia.

Taylor B. 2010. Muti killings: The encyclopedia of religion and Nature

Turell R. 2001. Muti ritual murders in Natal.S.A. Historical journal, issue 44. Sabinet: S.A.

Publications

Unrau, Y.A., Gabor, P.A & Grinnell, R.M.2007. Evaluation in Social work: The art and

Science of Practice. Oxford University Press, London.

Williams F.P. & McShane. 2014. Criminological Theory, 7th Edition. University of Houston-

Downtown.

Witchcraft Suppression Act (3 of 1957)

82

APPENDICES

Appendix A: Ethical Clearance Certificate

ETHICAL CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE REC-270710-028-RA Level 01 Certificate Reference Number: MAG011SBEL01 Project title: The explanations and perceptions of

Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni community members on muti killings in Butterworth in the Eastern

Cape. Nature of Project Masters in Criminology Principal Researcher: Sinovuyo Belu Supervisor: Dr E.K. Sibanyoni Co-supervisor: N/A On behalf of the University of Fort Hare's Research Ethics Committee (UREC) I hereby give ethical approval in respect of the undertakings contained in the abovementioned project and research instrument(s). Should any other instruments be used, these require separate authorization. The Researcher may therefore commence with the research as from the date of this certificate, using the reference number indicated above. Please note that the UREC must be informed immediately of

83

• Any material change in the conditions or undertakings mentioned in the document; • Any material breaches of ethical undertakings or events that impact upon the ethical conduct of the research.

84

Appendix B: Informed Consent Letter

Name of the researcher : Sinovuyo Belu

Cell : 0782669794

Email address : [email protected]

Name of the supervisor : Dr. Ephriam Kevin Sibanyoni

Email address : [email protected]

Research Topic : An explanatory study on the perceptions of Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni

community members of the factors that influence muti killings.

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

I am a Masters student enrolled with the University of Fort Hare, Alice campus. I am

conducting a study on the perceptions of Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni community members

on the factors that influence muti killings. I am asking for permission for permission to

conduct interviews with Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni villagers for the purposes of this study.

This study will help the community to understand the main factors that influence muti

killings in both villages.

The main objective of the study is to establish the explanations and perceptions of

Nkcunkcuzo and Tholeni, Butterworth community members towards factors that influence

muti killings?

The information collected from the villagers will be treated with confidentiality, anonymity

and the participants will be protected. Tholeni and Nkcunkcuzo villages are very important

85

areas for data collection because there are many incidents of muti killings. Therefore, the

findings of this study will be of special importance to both areas.

Kind Regards

Researcher : Sinovuyo Belu

Supervisor : Dr. Emphraim K. Sibanyoni

86

Appendix C: Interview schedules

Interview schedules

Section A :Perceptions of Butterworth community towards factors influencing muthi killings in Butterworth, Eastern Cape (E.C.)

1. Do you understand anything about muthi killings/ Ikhona into oyaziyo ngokubulawa

kwabantu ngeenjongo zokwenza amayeza?

2. How do you feel about incidents of muthi killings/ Uziva njani ngezi ganeko zokubulawa

kwabantu ngee njongo zobuthi?

3. Had you ever been directly or indirectly involved in an incident of muthi killings/ Wakhe

wabandakanyeka kwisehlo sokubulawa komntu ngee njongo zokwenza ubuthi?

4. How frequent are muthi killings happen in your community/ Zivame kangakanani izehle

zokubulawa kwabantu ngee nhjongo zokwenza ubuthi?

5. What do you think are the reasons for people to commit muthi murders/ Ucinga ukuba

ziyintoni izizathu zokuba abantu babulali ngee njongo zobuthi?

6. What must be done to someone who has committed a muthi murders/ Makwenziwe ntoni

ngabantu ababuleleyo ngee njongo zokwenza ubuthi?

7. Do you have any measures to mitigate muthi murders in your community/ Ninazo iindlela

zokunqanda loo mkhwa?

8. What has ever happened to a person who had been found guilty of a muthi killing/ Hinto

eyakhe yenziwa emntwini owafunyaniswa enetyala noku bulala ngee njongo zokwenza

ubuthi?

9. How do you feel about family of the person who has committed a muthi murder in your

community/ Uziva njani ngosapho lomntu obuleleyo ngee njongo zokwenza ubuthi?

87

10. Do you believe that children can commit muthi killings/ Uyakholelwa ukuba abantwa

bangawenza loo mkhuba?

Section B: Modus operandi (M.O) the muthi murderers use to harvest the human body parts in Butterworth, Eastern Cape (E.C.)

11. What do you think the muthi murderers do to attract their victims/ Ucinga ukuba ababulali

bawagrhogrhisa ngantoni amaxhoba abo ?

12. Which body parts that are likely to be harvested by the muthi murderer in your community/

Ngawaphi amalungu omzimba avame ukuthathwa ngababulali?

13. What kind of weapons do you think muthi murders uses when harvesting body parts In

your community/ Zeziphi izixhobo ezisetyenziswayo kwezi zehlo?

14. Do ritual murderers use drugs when committing muthi killings/ Ingaba aba babulali

basebenzisa iziyobisi xa bezakwenza oku kubulala?

15. Who are the most vulnerable targets of muthi killings in your community/ Ngubani osecicini

lobangamaxhoba okubulawa ngee njogo zokwenza ubuthi?

16. Do muthi murderers abuse their victims before committing a muthi murder/ Ingaba

ayaxhatshazwa amaxhoba phambi kokuba abulawe?

17. What are muthi murderers expect in return after committing a muthi murder/ Balindele

ntoni okanye mbuyekezo iyintoni ababulali aba?

18. Who, in most incidents of muthi murders, employ people to commit muthi killings/ Noobani

abaqesha abantu ukuba babulale abanye ngee njongo zokwenza ubuthi kwiziganeko

ezininzi?

19. Does each body part that is harvested symbolize something/ Ingaba ilungu ngalinye

linento eliyithethayo elithathiweyo emntwini?

88

Section C: People who are likely to commit muthi killings 20. Do females commit muthi killings/ Ingaba amabhinqa ayabulala wona ngee njongo

zokwenza ubuthi?

21. Had you ever experienced any incident where the muthi killing has been committed by a

fellow family member/ Wakhe wehlelwa himeko apho khona oku kubulala lenziwe

sisizalwana sakho?

22. Do teenagers get affected, in anyway, by the practice of muthi killings in your community/

Ingaba abantwana abaphakathi kweminyaka eli-13 ukuya kwi-19 bayachaphazeleka bona

kwezi zehlo?

23. Do reach people commit muthi murders/ Ingaba izityebi ziyaye into yokubulala ngee

njongo zokwenza ubuthi?

24. Do muthi murders affect all the people of your community/ Uyavuma uba ukuhlala konke

oku kuyachaphazeleka zezi zehlo?

25. Had you never been suspicious that one of your community member has committed a

muthi murder/ Wakhe wanuka umntu ngokwenza olu hlobo lokubulala?

26. Had you wrongfully suspected that a person has committed a muthi killing, why/ Wakhe

watyhola umntu ngempazamo uba ubulele?

27. When is your last experience with people who have been involved in an incident of muthi

murder/ Ugqibele nini ukuva ngezehlo zokubulawa kwabantu ngee njongo zokuthathwa

kwamalungu omzimba?

28. Are there any identifiable symbols on people who commit muthi killings/ Ingaba zikhona

na iimpawu kubantu abenza loo mkhwa?

89

29. Do you know of any older person, old man or women that was found guilty of committing

a muthi murder/ Ingaba ukhona kusini umntu omdala, oyindoda okanye ibhinqa, owakhe

wafunyaniswa enetyala lokwenza oluu hlobo lokubulala?

Section D: Legal provisions to mitigate muthi killings 30. Do you know of any legal provision to protect the community from muthi killings/ Ukhona

umthetho owaziyo omelene nokhuseleko loluntu?

31. Do you involve the South African Police Services when muthi killing has occurred/ Ingaba

niyawabandakanya amapolisa kwizehlo apho kubulewe umntu ngee njo ngo zokwenza

ubuthi?

32. How effective is the police intervention in mitigating the incidents of muthi murders/

Lungakanani uncedeo olwenziwa ngamapolisa kwezi zehlo?

33. Do you understand anything about a community based law enforcement center on muthi

killings/ Zikhona indawo, ngoko lwazi lwakho, ezi semthethweni ezimiselwe ukunqanda

umkhwa wokubulawa kwabantu?

34. How would you like the law to address the incidents of muthi killings/ Ungathanda uba

umthetho uzinqande njani ezi zehlo?

35. In your opinion, does the law lack in mitigating the incidents of muthi murders/ Ucinga

ukuba umthetho usilela ndawoni ekunqandeni ezi zehlo?

Yes

No

36. Do you know anything about witchcraft suppression Act/ Unalo ulwazi ngomthetho oyi

Witchcraft suppression act?

Yes

No

90

37. Do you have community policing structures in your community/ Ingaba ninazo iinkonzo

zesipolisa ezisekuhlaleni?

38. How would you describe the intervention of the courts on cases of muthi killings/ Ungathi

iinkundla zamatyala zincedisa ngokwaneleyo na kwezi ziganeko?

Good

Fair

Poor

39. Do you know of any legal measure that is accepted in your community and implemented

to mitigate muthi killings/ Ikhona indlela eyamkelekileyo ngokwasemthethweni enenza

ngayo ukunqanda iziganeko zokubulawa kwabantu ngee njongo zokwenza ubuthi?

Yes

No

40. Are afraid that law is not completely dealing with muthi killings/ Ingabe unalo uloyiko

lokuba umthetho awenzi ngokwaneleyo ukunqanda iziganeko zokubulawa kwabantu

ngenjo zokuthathwa kwamalungu omzimba?

Yes

No