KwaMajola residents live in fear as faction fight continues to plague the area

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The residents of KwaMajola near Port St Johns continue to live in fear in spite of the efforts to curb the faction fighting that is plaguing the area.

Just this week another clash claimed the life of a young man and four homesteads were razed. Two people were also seriously injured in the altercation.

Three weeks ago, more than 15 homesteads were burnt down. The motive behind the faction fighting is believed to be linked to incidents of stock theft and revenge attacks.

Port St Johns is the rural heartland of the Eastern Cape and is mountainous and beautiful but KwaMajola stands in contrast to the suffering of the residents.

Women and children are taking refuge in the forest trying to escape the violence. The displaced people are desperate for assistance.

Nokuphiwe Ziki survived an attack but her child was not so lucky.

She says, “I slept in the forest and I got shot while having my baby on my back, my baby died because of the bullet that went through my stomach and hit my baby. I do not have food, I do not eat, I live in the forest, and some of my kids are suffering from flu because of the faction fight that is happening here.”

The 78-year-old Vitoria Majali says people leave their homes to escape death.

“We are in a situation where each and every day we migrate the village and seek refuge in the forest. Seeing women with luggage and babies on their backs are very common here. We do not know how this faction fight can come to an end.”

The Mayor of Port St Johns, Nomvuzo Mlombile-Cingo, says the impact on the lives of the villagers is of great concern.

“For women and children, it is a double blow because it affects them, they are not going to school, kids who were going to change lives of those households because in this area you have to get an education so that you are able to get work and able to change the situation in your home. So kids are not going to school, women are suffering, girl children are suffering, we do not even know what happens when they are out there in the field. There could be rapes that will not be reported,” Mlombile-Cingo added.

Three weeks ago the government tried to intervene. An imbizo was called and more police were deployed but seemingly to no avail. The MEC for Safety, Xolile Nqatha, says a re-enforcement of intelligence personnel on the ground should be prioritized.

Residents of Majola village hope to end tension between opposing communities: