Three men charged in the Phoenix murders appear in court

Image: Jayed-Leigh Paulse

Ned and Dylan Govender appear in the Verulam Magistrates' Court on August, 12, 2021

Supporters of the three men charged in connection with violence in the Phoenix area during the unrest in July have gathered outside the Verulam Magistrate’s Court to attend their bail application.

On the other side of the road, a handful of people demanding justice for the victims are chanting struggle songs.

Brothers Dylan and Ned Govender and Jeetendra Jaikissoon are being charged with murder and attempted murder after a group of Phoenix residents allegedly attacked five unarmed men as they were walking down a suburban road during the July civil unrest.

It is alleged racially motivated attacks took place in the area during the widespread unrest and looting in various parts in the metro and KwaZulu-Natal.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has made this announcement in September at a peace march from Phoenix to the neighbouring township of Bhambhayi in the north of Durban.

Meanwhile, various initiatives have been launched to heal the rifts caused by the killings.

Zikalala says the monument will bear the names of all the victims of the Phoenix massacre. After a symbolic peace march of about a hundred people through the streets of Phoenix to the neighbouring Bhambhayi, white pigeons were released as a sign of peace.

“Tougher legislation and sentences alone will not get rid of deep-seated roots of violence. We need to return to the source and begin to promote sanity for human lives in our families, (and) in our communities. The foundation is the family, and we must build from our families,” says Zikalala.

Parliament to probe killings

In July, Parliament announced that it would probe the violent unrest, vandalism and looting which left over 300 people dead in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Government is yet to give clarity on the people and reasons behind the public unrest despite President Cyril Ramaphosa’s suggestion that it was an insurrection.

National Assembly House Chairperson responsible for Committees, Cedric Frolick, said the probe will start as soon as possible.

“The visit by the parliamentary committees in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng last week raised more questions than answers after seeing the devastation that was caused by the looting and the rioting that took place. Absolute mayhem of property being destroyed and lives lost. It became clear to us that we require more information,” he says.

Phoenix Update | Fostering social cohesion




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