The following correspondence has been submitted to the Department for Justice and Constitutional Development. This Alliance trusts that international consensus on this matter will persuade the honourable Minister, and the South African Law Reform Commission, to revisit it’s hesitancy in recommending that the Legislature set aside the Witchcraft Suppression Act as clearly inconsistent with both Constitutional and International law, without further delay.
The United Nations Human Rights Council’s draft resolution 47 entitled “Elimination of harmful practices related to accusations of witchcraft and ritual attacks” finally, although indirectly only, acknowledges that Witchcraft is not the mischief requiring regulation or prohibition. The draft correctly identifies the true harm requiring remedy; the human rights abuses which flow from accusations of witchcraft.
Have you ordered and paid for merchandise that was never delivered? Have you subsequently been refused a refund on demand for that undelivered order? Has a supplier demanded a cancellation fee for an undelivered order? The Consumer Protection Act protects your right to fair and honest dealing by promoting fair business practices, and by protecting consumers from unconscionable, unfair, unreasonable, unjust or otherwise improper trade practices; and deceptive, misleading, unfair or fraudulent conduct.
What is not at issue here is the Constitutional right of Witches to identify as Witches, to profess to have knowledge of Witchcraft, and to practice Witchcraft.
The Constitutional rights to freedom of religion, belief and association, do not protect any right to practice magical rituals designed to curse others, whether to protect an innocent from harm, or to avenge a wrong. The Witchcraft Suppression Act prohibits the practice of harmful magic intended to curse another.
South African law expressly prohibits the practice of magic in such a way as to cause harm, or to harass another in such a way as to inspire the reasonable belief that harm may be caused, or to utter or convey a threat which might induce a fear of being harmed through the use of witchcraft.
South African Pagans are not immune from inter-personal disagreements and personality conflicts. We are, after all, human. But we are also the objects of both fear and hatred by many non-Pagan South Africans. Our enemies ply their defamation against us through religious admonitions and condemnations.
Innocent people falsely accused of being witches and of practicing witchcraft to cause harm are often assaulted and murdered in this country. False accusations tarnish reputations and ruin livelihoods. No-one is immune to the harm caused by malicious gossip on social media. The accusers are not immune from justice either.
Dr Arthur Frost’s recent Facebook call to action against the legal right of non-Christian South Africans to celebrate ancestral veneration amounts to incitement to discrimination, and is motivated by religious prejudice. The South African Pagan Rights Alliance calls on all South Africans to condemn Frost’s call to action as a rejection of the Constitutional values of freedom, dignity and equality.
Die artikel skep die indruk dat die Okkulte moet lei tot geweld. Of dat die Okkulte meer neig tot geweldige misdade as ander godsdienstige sisteme. Dit is bloot valse inligting.
Die prokureur Andre Kirsten, in die artikel, wys tereg uit dat in die hof daar nie onderskeid gemaak word tussen ‘n “okkulte” of gewone misdaad nie – en dit is reg en hoe dit hoort.
On April 13 news headlines read “Eastern Cape school closed for exorcism after pupils captured by evil spirits”.
This is not the first case of hysteria in public schools in South Africa. In the past, pastors were invited to schools as a matter of course in order to deal with untested and unproven allegations of supernatural activity.
SAPRA appeals to the Minister of Basic Education Ms Matsie Motshekga, MEC Mr. Gade David Fundile, and the Eastern Cape Department of Education, to put an end to the charade of pandering to the fantasies of teenagers. Stop using public schools to proselytise religious prejudice and bigotry.
We honour Leo Igwe for his own successful campaigns against “child witchcraft accusations” in Nigeria.
We accept that his campaigns seek to deny the existence of Witches and Witchcraft; a natural consequence of his atheism. Our own campaigns in South Africa do not seek to deny the fact that real Witches do exist. We admit that navigating the thin line between religious identity and prejudicial accusation is always frought with difficulty.
SAPRA’s first issue of our quarterly newsletter, Your Rights.
In anticipation of yet another long year of lockdown and anxiety, we’ve devoted this issue to offering practical advice on matters with which you might have become all too familiar since March 2020, including lawful eviction procedure, health protocols in the workplace, and COVID vaccinations and the law, as well as articles on crafting a Bindrune for Justice, Deities associated with the Law, and making an Incantation Bowl to ward against illness and misfortune.
During Human Rights Month – 21 March to 27 April – the South African Pagan Rights Alliance will be launching its annual ’30 Days of Advocacy against Witchcraft Accusations and Witch-hunts’ on 29 March 2021. If you would like to support this campaign, share links to our advocacy web-page and our Facebook page ‘Touchstone Advocacy’, and share our advocacy banner as your profile image.
SAPRA would like to encourage South African Pagans to continue to observe COVID health protocols – wear a mask when in a public space, observe social distancing, avoid gathering in large crowds whether indoors or outdoors, and be mindful at all times of the suffering of their fellow citizens. Assist others where you can, however you are able. During a time such as this one, everyone needs to have access to certainty (as much as there can be) in order to make informed decisions. This virus does not care if you don’t believe in it. Take care.
Many South Africans still hold and promote deeply prejudicial views about who and what Pagans are. That historical mistrust against Paganism and against individual Pagans will only be further entrenched when Pagans who declare themselves “leaders” act unethically or dishonourably towards members of their own religious community.
Deliberately misleading the public about a drug (hydroxychloroquine) proven to have no effect against a lethal virus, and recommending that masks not be worn to prevent the spread of that virus is not only unethical, but criminally negligent.
If you are unwilling to accept the very real risk of coronavirus contagion to your child or members of your family as a consequence of sending your child back to school, SAPRA advises applying for partial or conditional exemption from attendance. Parents seeking to homeschool their child must register for home schooling.
According to section 4(1) of the South African Schools Act, “A Head of Department may exempt a learner entirely, partially, or conditionally from compulsory school attendance if it is in the best interests of the learner.”