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Police on the scene where the body of a spiritual leader was found after he allegedly downed in the Olifants River on the weekend.

Spiritual healer drowns in search of teen boy


Police opened an inquest docket following the alleged drowning of Mopipi Abraham Phiri, a spiritual healer, in the Olifants River at Malipsdrift on the weekend. Phiri (30) was reportedly searching for a 12-year-old boy whom he believed was still alive after being swept away by the same river on 22 December.
According to Provincial Police Communications Head Motlafela Mojapelo Phiri’s body was recovered from the river on Sunday.
He said the healer allegedly told community members that the boy was still alive and that he needed
R13 000 to retrieve him from the river. The community reportedly agreed to give him R10 000 but only once he brought back the child, according to Mojapelo.
Phiri allegedly entered the river on Friday at about 17:00 and was presumed drowned as he never resurfaced. Police were then called and the search and rescue team was activated. The search resulted in the recovery of Phiri’s body on Sunday morning several kilometres from where he had entered the water, Mojapelo indicated.
In the meantime the search for the 12-year-old boy from Machakaneng village and who is believed to have drowned on 22 December, is still continuing. Human remains found by a fisherman in the same river seven days later are still being subjected to DNA examination.
Provincial Police Commissioner Nneke Ledwaba visited the scene on Sunday and condemned the actions of Phiri who performed dangerous rituals that ended his life.
He further warned all community members to desist from entering flooding rivers for whatever reason to avoid drowning.

Story: RC Myburgh

Provincial Police Commissioner Nneke Ledwaba interacts with community members.