People are fleeing the normally peaceful KwaYanguye rural area near Melmoth in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, amid a spate of killings that have claimed more than ten people over the past six months. Living in the grip of fear, KwaYanguye residents in Melmoth in the north of KwaZulu-Natal are calling on Police Minister Bheki Cele to intervene in the continuing attacks and killings of people in the area.
The victims were allegedly gunned down at their homes by unknown attackers. This has forced some to flee the area.
The community says what once was a peaceful village has now been taken over by criminal elements. They claim that criminals are attacking people in their homes but are not robbing them of their belongings.
Other claims are that some community members have been killed in their homes in front of their families.
The community is calling for more police visibility and a police station.
“There is a spike in crime. I’m calling for the intervention of Police Minister Bheki Cele. I am concerned about the safety of community members. Police are trying their level best. But we are worried because in all these incidents there are no arrests that have been made. I am calling the government to build us a police station, not a mobile police station.”
The village is situated 30 kilometers from Melmoth, where the closest police station is.
Some community members who wanted to remain anonymous say a number of residents have received threats.
“I am no longer participating in sport as I don’t want to be killed. I stay at home and only come out of my home when I go to the shop.”
Local traditional leaders say they have tried to intervene and quell the violence. Amongst the people killed recently was 55-year-old Thokozani Biyela, the brother of a traditional leader.
The community claims that over 40 people have been murdered in the last five years and ten families relocated and no arrests have been made by police.