Crime “out of control” in Mandeni

Phakamani Mhlongo was attacked with an axe and shot twice.

The community of Hlomendlini in Mandeni is accusing Newark police of drinking on duty, taking bribes and closing the police station at night.

This resulted in a protest on Friday night, with residents demanding a satellite police station.

The area is a hotbed of murder, rape, drugs, robbery and burglaries.

Local men now patrol the area at night because they no longer trust the police.

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The latest incident was the robbery and murder of Ntombi Biyela (65), who was killed with an axe.

Her son Phakamani Mhlongo (30) was shot twice and also injured by the axe.

“A group of six men arrived at our home at night, broke the door and demanded money. I told them that I did not have money and they shot me in the shoulder, leg and struck me with an axe. I managed to escape but I collapsed outside the house,” said Mhlongo.

The thieves proceeded to another house where they found Biyela and hit her on her head repeatedly with the axe. She later died in hospital.

Resident Jabulani Nala said they want a police station closer to them.

“The police station is too far from us and it is usually closed at night. Now tell me, how can we get to that police station if we need to open a case at night?

“We seriously need a satellite police station,” said Nala. The police station is about 6km from Hlomendlini.

One of their horror stories was the 2016 rape of a 13-year-old girl, Nandipha Mbatha, who then had her eyes gouged out and was stabbed multiple times.

“The community caught the man who did that, burnt his house and he was arrested. But he was released due to lack of evidence. We are still waiting for the person responsible to be held accountable,” said Nala.

Also read: Power to the people

In a community meeting that was attended by close to 500 people on Saturday, deputy cluster commander brigadier Bheki Zondi assured the residents that their complaints will be investigated.

He urged them to work with the police by reporting any criminal activities to him, including the police who are reportedly drinking on duty while driving state vehicles.

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  AUTHOR
Sboniso Dlamini
Journalist

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