FEAR and smoke hung thick in the air over the Joe Slovo informal settlement on Monday following a fight between amaXhosa and amaMpondo tribal groupings precipitated by the killing of a resident.
Residents who spoke to The Rep in the area claimed Vovo Ndlovu had received drugs from the amaMpondo group to sell and could not give them the R800 that was owed.
They said Ndlovu was then traced to his house in Unifound where he was beaten and then taken to a shack in Joe Slovo.
“After beating him, they wanted to take him away. His girlfriend tried to stop them and she was stabbed. They took him to a shack and hacked him to death,” one resident said.
He wanted to remain anonymous for fear of victimisation.
The incident allegedly happened on Sunday around 8pm.
The residents said the community felt pain for Ndlovu, “a sweet man who never participated in criminal activities”.
They said after the incident, the amaXhosa wanted to avenge Ndlovu’s death which led to a confrontation and conflict between the two groups on Monday morning.
“The fight was serious because we want these people [amaMpondo] to leave. It is not the first time they have done this. If they don’t leave, they will not know peace here. We are waiting here for the police to leave and will start again from the beginning,” said one resident.
Sharp objects had been used in fights and six shacks had been set alight by Wednesday morning, with an uneasy peace reigning in the area since.
The Rep visited the area to speak to the amaMpondo, who are resident at the top end of Joe Slovo.
They said Ndlovu was murdered by some of them over drug money. Not all the amaMpondo were involved in the sale of drugs.
“We were not part of the incident, but our shacks have been burnt. We delegated people to go with police and apologise to the amaXhosa, but we have not had a response from them,” one man said.
A meeting was later called between the two groups and the police.
Present were cluster commander Major-General Sakhele Dyantyi, deputy cluster commander Brigadier Phumla Mavuka and Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality community safety political head Adele Hendricks. Addressing the crowds, Mlungisi station commander Colonel Gcinikhaya Taleni said a solution was needed.
Nkosikhona Zenyuse of the amaMpondo said the alleged murder was unfortunate and they apologised unreservedly.
“What these boys did was very wrong. If we had known in advance we would have told them not to do this. We have wronged you and we apologise.”
Sibongiseni Nkokheli said the rest of the amaMpondo were saddened by the act and had insisted the accused hand themselves over to the police.
“We know we have wronged you and we apologise,” he said.
Snezo Xhelisilo, speaking on behalf of amaXhosa, said the apology was welcomed.
“We want peace in this area and we accept the apology. However, enough is enough and we want them to leave this area.”
Taleni said the issue of the amaMpondo leaving the area was not for the police or community members to resolve. Ward councillor Anele Seyisi should take the matter to council for the response to be sent back to the people.
Seven amaMpondo members have been arrested for the alleged murder.