South African Indian cult leader drove siblings to kill parents

July 28th, 2008 - 2:43 pm ICT by IANS  

By Fakir Hassen
Durban, July 28 (IANS) Intervention by the South African Hindu Dharma Sabha stopped angry residents from burning down the house of a South African Indian, alleged to be a Christian cult leader, who has been arrested together with his girlfriend and her brother for the gruesome murder of the siblings’ parents. Mathew Naidoo, described by neighbours in the sprawling mainly Indian suburb of Phoenix here as “the product of some evil force”, is alleged to be the main force behind the killing of Johan and Magdalena Lotter, who were bludgeoned to death in their home here July 20.

Naidoo, his girlfriend Nicolette, 26, and her brother Hardus, 20, reportedly confessed to the murder.

Angry residents wanted to burn down the house where Naidoo lived with his mother and grandmother. After being pacified by religious leaders, the community has vowed to pack out the court when the three accused are expected to appear Thursday.

Hardus initially told police that he had opened the security gates to the residence when he heard what he believed was the horn of his sister’s car. He said two masked men then came into the house, forced him into a cupboard, and killed his parents.

But barely 24 hours later, police arrested the three after they failed to corroborate each others’ accounts of the incident.

Johan had allegedly been receiving death threats and had hired a private investigator after he had objected to his daughter having an Indian boyfriend and refused Naidoo access to the Lotter residence. The Lotter family is white and of Afrikaner origin.

The private investigator, Brad Nathanson, said Naidoo was a “fanatic” who turned the children’s teachings and upbringing upside down, turning them against their parents.

The mother was stabbed to death in the family’s kitchen, while the father was hit over the head with a piece of wood as he slept and then strangled with an electrical cord cut from the TV set in his room.

Although Naidoo claimed to run a church, police confirmed that he could not provide a fixed address for the past 18 months.

Pastor Johnny Kisten of the Praise Jesus Ministries Church in Phoenix claimed that Naidoo had attracted 10 members of his church who “blindly followed him”, even to the extent of stealing musical equipment, money and other items from his church.

A member of Kisten’s church, Rebecca Francis, alleged that Naidoo had befriended many young people who would even steal from their parents at his behest, adding that “there is something evil about him”.

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