23 July 2008

Witchcraft Suppression Bill put on hold

Well that's a relief.

It was a horribly badly-drafted piece of legislation, which failed to define terms and would have created endless confusion had it become law.
clipped from www.sowetan.co.za

Mpumalanga healers and pagans have been given a new lease of life after the Witchcraft Suppression Bill was put on hold.

The proposed bill by the department of local government, which came under fire last year from various stakeholders, was put on hold yesterday. The department of local government said it had put the drafting of the bill of 2007 on hold “until further notice”.

The department was mandated by the provincial executive council to prepare a bill which seeks to address high levels of violence in Mpumalanga linked to allegations of witchcraft.

blog it

While witchcraft allegations have certainly led to a lot of violence, hasty legislation and imprecise definitions will not help to solve the problem.


Ben said...

...where is this occuring?

Yvonne said...

Thank goodness for that. The entire South African Pagan community has been campaigning against this bill since it started.

Legislating against the victims of violence seems to me to be condoning the perpetration of the violence; and it's more likely to encourage the persecutors to continue.

It's like banning Judaism because of anti-Semitic violence.

Steve Hayes said...


The aim was to protect the victims, but the definitions were inadequate, and the whole thing had not been thought through. For example, here are two of the deifnitions:

"Witchcraft" means the secret use of muti, zombies, spells, spirits, magic powders, water, mixtures, etc, by any person with the purpose of causing harm, damage, sickness to others or their property.

"Wizard"means any person who secretly solicit or uses muti, zombies, spells, spirits, magic powders, water, mixtures, baboons, etc. for the purposes of causing harm, damage or suffering to another.

But nowhere, for example, are "zombies" defined.

If you search my blog for "Mpumalanga witchcraft" you can see the draft. And "wizard" is a term used mainly by the tabloid press, which has such interesting headlines as "Zombie ate my soap".


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