Residents of Ngcobo, in the Eastern Cape, say they still don’t feel safe, three years after the brutal killing of five police officers and a retired soldier by gunmen in the area.
Three police officers were shot and killed inside the police station and the other two six kilometres away. The sixth victim is believed to have been killed in the area between the two murder scenes.
The attackers fled with 10 firearms and a police van.
Since the incident, upgrades have been made to the police station.
Residents say they fear for their lives.
“The gates are always closed at night and you can’t get any assistance. You end up not knowing where to run to. It was better before this incident,” says one community member.
“It’s easy for some people to do as they please here because they have money. Some get away with crime because they have money so I can’t say things changed after that incident,” another resident adds.
“It is still shocking when you enter the police station and see the faces of the police officers who died here. It’s still painful. I’m not sure about the security inside,” says another community member.
Members of a religious cult known as the Mancoba Seven Angels are on trial for the murders.
Seven suspects were gunned down at the ministry’s compound during a shootout with police.
Seven Angels member, Phuthumile Mancoba was convicted of defeating the ends of justice and the illegal possession of one of the firearms stolen from the police station. But the multiple murder case against the five other members has been delayed repeatedly.
The Ngcobo bloodbath still haunts residents:
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson, Luxolo Tyali, says the suspects are expected to be back in court in March.
“At the moment the case is due to appear again on the 15th of March, where the court is still hearing a trial within a trial in relation to the admissibility of confessions that the accused made to the police,” he explains.
“Now they are saying they made these things under duress so the court is still considering that application on whether they want those confessions not to be admissible in court. The main trial will only commence after that trial within a trial has been finalised,” concludes Tyali.
Mancoba Seven Angels’ compound was demolished and the cult disbanded after the arrest of the church leaders. Only a few houses remain and residents say they sometimes see former members around town.