Clandestine meetings, rituals and advice not to speak about her spiritual experiences left a young Pretoria woman R400 000 poorer – and the fake religious practitioner in jail.

The 27-year-old Hazeldean victim was taken through five months of rituals by the 39-year-old woman, who had advertised her services on the internet.

The fake practitioner got her to quit her job and make regular deposits into a safe, which stood in her house. She gave the woman strict instruction never to open it.

The woman responded to the advert and engaged the services of the “psychic medium, shaman and spiritual healer” in September.

The first move was to pay a large consultation fee and more money for a “housecleaning” ritual. Instructions following their initial engagement included the purchase of a safe to be kept in the victim’s house.

“Large payments were made into the safe during rituals,” Brooklyn police spokesperson Captain Colette Weilbach said.

The woman told them the practitioner once prophesied that she would receive an inheritance of R10 million, and to secure that prophecy, she was to make payments into the safe. “They would pray together over the money,” said Weilbach.

The practitioner then convinced the woman to resign from her job so that the ancestors could multiply her pension money.

The woman confessed, she never had reason to mistrust the sangoma.

“She was instructed never to talk to anybody about her spiritual experiences, but she eventually got suspicious and went to the Garsfontein police station for advice.”

Once there, she was told to open the safe, and there was no money inside.

She realised the practitioner must have stolen the money from the safe during ritual and prayer sessions when she was instructed to keep her eyes closed. She estimated that more than R400 000 had been taken.

Weilbach said a fraud case had been opened and the fake sangoma arrested.