Ngwana Ledwaba, a gospel singer from Limpopo, has expressed remorse for her actions following a video that showed her and her family members assaulting a mentally ill woman with a panga. The incident occurred in Mandela Park, Ga-Mashashane, just outside of Polokwane, as Ledwaba was preparing to attend a funeral. The woman, who hails from the same area, had arrived at Ledwaba’s residence.
In the video, Ledwaba alleges that the mentally ill woman had intruded into her home and was acting erratically. She is heard contacting the police, asserting that the woman was nude and posing a threat to her, despite the fact that the woman was fully clothed and merely wandering around her house. Ledwaba stated that after several failed attempts to remove the woman from her property, she felt compelled to resort to force. “I deeply regret assaulting Mma Mautla. I could have managed the situation more appropriately and I apologize for my aggressive conduct,” she expressed after the video she shared went viral on social media and her actions were widely criticized.
Maitemogelo Mautla, the daughter of the assaulted woman, confirmed that her mother has been battling bipolar disorder since 2001 and that Ledwaba was aware of this as they are from the same village. She also confirmed that her mother was hospitalized due to injuries sustained from the assault.
Despite Ledwaba’s apology, the Conty Lebepe Foundation, a non-profit organization advocating for marginalized individuals in Limpopo, has called on Thobela FM and other gospel event organizers to cease booking the artist. The foundation urged stakeholders to suspend bookings for Ledwaba as her actions contradict the message conveyed in her music. “We advocate for women to treat each other with kindness at all times. The most disturbing aspect of this incident is that these women are not strangers; they know each other well and even the community has emphasized that Ledwaba knew about the woman she assaulted. This is particularly unsettling given Ledwaba’s reputation for uplifting broken spirits through her gospel music,” stated the foundation.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) also denounced Ledwaba’s actions. “While the Commission firmly supports private property rights and their full enjoyment, it expresses serious concern over the use of violence against an evidently mentally unstable individual due to their mental health challenges,” said SAHRC in a statement. The SAHRC’s Limpopo provincial office stated that although no complaint has been lodged yet, they will be monitoring the situation for potential intervention.”