DAMON LEFF. Occultists in South Africa, including Witches, Pagans and Satanists, are alarmed by news that the South African Police Services will be reconstituting ‘Occult-related crime’ units, and with good reason. The investigative mandate for the establishment of new provincial Occult-related Crime Units (ORC), in particular certain ‘categories of crime’ listed in a recently leaked SAPS Investigation support capacity memorandum, contradict internationally recognized jurisprudence in the identification and verification of demonstrable evidence. The law requires that evidence must not be based on opinion, belief or untested hearsay, but on provable facts alone.
Category: Minority Review – Damon Leff
DAMON LEFF. What generally passes for so-called expert academic opinion on anything related to Witchcraft in this country is most often simply regurgitated and non-factual propaganda, and Dr Theodore Petrus’ recently published comments in the Port Elizabeth’s Weekend Post on Traditional African religions, Witchcraft and Satanism, are a choice example of this propaganda. Dr. Petrus appears to dismiss the relevance of an existing religious minority that identifies Witchcraft as their religion, a modern Pagan religion that finds its origins in entirely European folk-lore and pre-Christian ‘pagan’ cultures.
DAMON LEFF. The South African Police Service is launching new regional occult crime units. According to a leaked memorandum, Provincial Commissioners were recently instructed to appoint two detectives in every province tasked with investigating alleged harmful occult-related crimes. In addition to investigating muti murders, newly appointed detectives will be required to also investigate spectral evidence including spiritual intimidation and astral coercion, curses intended to cause harm, allegations of rape by tokoloshe spirits, and poltergeist and paranormal phenomena. But, since courts will not accept evidence of the supernatural on principle, the ORC detectives will be wasting valuable time and effort investigating para-psychological phenomena.
DAMON LEFF. South African Witches are offended by SAPS reservist F. H. Havinga’s public libel of their religion and religious practices. Annalie Anticevich’s report on a case of animal cruelty entitled ‘Mutilated rabbit found: witchcraft is suspected’ is a perfect example of how historical fantasies surrounding both traditional African religio-magical practices, and Witchcraft, still serve to reinforce media bias against Witches and Traditional Healers in South Africa. Havinga would have Anticevich and readers of www.looklocal.co.za believe that “African Witches” really are to blame for this as yet uninvestigated case of animal cruelty. They are NOT!
DAMON LEFF. African traditions ascribe supernatural properties to medicines (muti) derived from both plant and animal sources. In extreme circumstances, unethical traditional healers (nyangas, sangomas and witchdoctors) resort to using so-called muthi made from human body parts, a practice widely eschewed by both ethical healers and actual Witches. Despite accusations to the contrary, evidence will show that the muti murderers themselves are not Witches, but are most often paid by unscrupulous so-called traditional healers to harvest human body parts and tissue for sale for use in alleged magic. Those found guilty in courts of law have not identified themselves as Witches, but rather as traditional healers. Here are just a few of many published examples.
DAMON LEFF. Traditional Courts within sub-Saharan Africa share a commonly held belief that Witchcraft is not a faith that people openly profess, and do not recognize Witchcraft as a constitutionally protected religion. Customary beliefs about Witchcraft remain wholly prejudicial to actual Witches, where Witches are viewed as being responsible for misfortune, illness or untimely death. Traditional beliefs do not assume that a Witch may be innocent of such accusation because it is believed that such criminal acts are in keeping with the nature of the practice of Witchcraft. Within traditional courts, Witchcraft is viewed as a malevolent magical act, one punishable under customary African laws. Accusations of Witchcraft, though illegal under the 1957 Witchcraft Suppression Act, are frequently heard by traditional courts. Accusations are always based on suspicion, rumor, or gossip.
DAMON LEFF. The ANC has repeatedly stated that the painting has divided the nation along racial lines. Truth be told, the painting has done no such thing! On the contrary, it has been used by the ANC to further divide our nation, black against white. The artist Brett Murray has repeatedly been called a racist, despite his emphatic denial. It doesn’t matter if he isn’t really a racist. Repeatedly stereotyping Murray as a racist, simply because his painting of Jacob Zuma offended conservative sensabilities, has bolstered both Mthembu and Mantashe’s campaign of intimidation and threat against the City Press and the Goodman Gallery. Both continue to capitalise on the responding outrage expressed by ANC cadres willing to defend Jacob Zuma’s dignity against a perceived act of hatred against black people in this country. The real debate is not about defending the dignity of the President at all. The ANC government, under Jacob Zuma’s Presidency, has repeatedly failed to resolve the systemic causes of massive service delivery protests, unemployment, crime and corruption within the civil service.
DAMON LEFF. A 1.85m high acrylic on canvas painting by Brett Murray entitled ‘The Spear’, part of Murray’s ‘Hail to the Thief II’ exhibition which hung in the Goodman Gallery until it was defaced on Tuesday afternoon with oil paint by two men claiming to be outraged at the depiction of the President with his genitals hanging out of his trousers, is a sign of the times. Our nation cares more about a painting and its perceived offence than they do about human life or the value of private property. Violent and destructive reaction has become more influential than the freedom of creative expression. In a nutshell, our President’s cock is more important than the life of the nation!