Muti Ritual Conducted at Mpumalanga Social Security Agency, Two Employees Suspended

Two South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) employees working at the agency’s office in Mkhondo, Mpumalanga, have been suspended following their role in allowing a muti (witchcraft) ritual to be conducted in the office. 

What You Need to Know:

CCTV footage of the incident which occurred on April 12th, shows two sangomas (witchdoctors) walking around the office, with one holding a snake and the other smearing an unknown liquid on various cubicles. Colleagues allege they found needles near their work stations, prompting them to alert their superiors.


As a result, the offices employees refused to return to the office for two weeks. SASSA spokesperson for Mpumalanga Province, Senzeni Ngubeni, told media that the employees are to work out of the Municipal community hall while the office is cleaned and fumigated. 

As previously reported, Muti, also known as umuthi in Zulu, translating to ‘tree’, is an alternative word for medicine in some localities but colloquially refers to witchcraft. Muti is often characterized by the use of body parts in rituals to bring protection or strength to an individual or tribe. Oftentimes, victims are healthy young males, or the strongest warrior from a rival tribe. 

So, What Now?:

In this case, it is unclear if a muti murder was committed for the ritual, however, the use of muti for various reasons, be it to cure a physical ailment or bring wealth, luck, or protection, is highly prevalent in South Africa. This explains why SASSA’s employees are so reluctant to return to the office, as there exists a real fear in South Africa, particularly among the Zulu populace, of the effect of muti on an individual or community. 

Why the ritual was committed is currently unknown, with the employees involved  currently suspended, it is unclear if a police investigation will follow. 

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger is a Political Science Graduate from the University of Otago, New Zealand. Currently working as an Editor for The ModernInsurgent and writing for Atlas News, her interests include conflict politics, history, yoga and meditation.


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