Marikana in mourning

Nontsikelelo Mngqengqiswa plays with her child while worried mother of the late Lubabalo Jokazi, Nonesi is listens to local leaders, among whom was Ward 35 councillor Mboniswa Chitha.

Following the brutal killing of 11 people, a number of Marikana residents have fled the area, citing fears of more violence and killings.

Meanwhile, the police are working to bring the situation under control, with more resources promised for the area.

The gruesome killings on Friday September 29 follow the murders of seven other people last Tuesday, September 26.

It is believed that nearly 30 people have been killed in the area in similar fashion in the space of a month.

When Vukani visited the area on Monday October 2, some bereaved family members were still reeling with shock.

They had converged at Nelson Mandela Rolihlahla Hall to listen to ANC ward councillor Mboniswa Chitha and to discuss funeral arrangements.

They had reluctantly returned to the area.

“We were advised to leave our shacks and the area. I have to run to Site B while my younger brother ran to Philippi,” said Nontsikelelo Mngqengqiswa, whose brother Ntandazo was killed during the shooting.

“This is a painful experience not only for my family but for all those who lost their loved ones,” said added.

Ms Mngqengqiswa had been living in the area with her two brothers until the incident.

She said Ntandazo had just returned from work and left with friends when he was killed.

“The younger brother called him only to find out his mobile was in a nearby house. He went out looking for him and found him killed with many others. This is traumatising and painful to us. We have left the hokkie but we are concerned about our clothes and other material now,” she said.

Community leaders say the murders could have been in revenge for the killings of seven people last Tuesday.

Area committee member, Xolani Tukwayo, vowed to protect his area from criminals. He said even though hundreds of people, including children, had fled Marikana, other people had nowhere to go and would protect themselves.

“We are not here simply because we like it here. We have nowhere to go. We will therefore fight until the bitter end. We know people are scared and are still shocked, but we will speak to many of them to come back and protect the area. But to some of us this is the only place we have,” he said.

Mr Tukwayo claimed that close to 30 people had died in September alone. He believes that Friday’s killers had been searching for community safety patrol members.

A patrol member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the area needed floodlights.

He said he had fled the area for fear of being killed. “I am lucky to be alive because I had about 20 boys in my house who were there to kill me. Two to three of them happened to know me and they appealed to others to leave me alone. It was scary and after that I had to leave my house. I had to take my family away, because they can do something to them. All I do now is to visit my shack,” he said.

He reiterated that gangsters had made the area a no-go zone. He said there was nothing police could do. “We cannot risk people’s lives here. This battle should be fought by us. Police are breadwinners in their homes. Why must they come here to be killed? The only thing we need are floodlights to fight this battle,” he said.

Mr Chitha was adamant that the killers would be found. He appealed to residents to work with police and not to take matters into their own hands. He also appealed to political parties not to use the killings to score political points.

Since the incident, politicians have taken turns to visit the area. Community Safety MEC, Dan Plato, visited on Monday October 2 and Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, visited on Tuesday October 3. They have both promised to beef up security in the area.