Mob chaos over home demolitions

Three people have been jailed after a violent protest over the planned demolition of houses allegedly built on illegally occupied land in Mthatha.
Three people have been jailed after a violent protest over the planned demolition of houses allegedly built on illegally occupied land in Mthatha.

Three people have been jailed after a violent protest over the planned demolition of houses allegedly built on illegally occupied land in Mthatha.

A Fidelity Services security guard manager was admitted to the Nelson Mandela Central Hospital and treated for head injuries and a broken arm after being hacked with a bush knife during the violence.

The victim, identified as Asanda Kwanini, 38, was escorting a TLB front-end loader to be used for the demolition when he was attacked at Maiden Farm on Monday.

A company bakkie, shipping container and a TLB parked at a construction site were set alight causing millions of rands’ damage.

Three people have been jailed after a violent protest over the planned demolition of houses allegedly built on illegally occupied land in Mthatha.

Dozens of public order police officers, King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) law enforcement officials and security guards were sent to the area.

An unnamed guard, who escaped with his life after the bakkie he was driving was set alight, said he and Kwanini had come under fire.

“He (Kwanini) told me to race away with the car as a mob was approaching us.

“Next minute, he was hacked on the head with a bushknife. I sped away with the car but it switched off and didn’t start. So I got out and ran,” said the guard.

Health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said Kwanini suffered multiple lacerations to the scalp, right hand and a fractured right arm. Kwanini had undergone a CT scan and X-rays following his hospitalisation.

“The patient is in a stable condition,” said Kupelo.

Spokesman for the Western Pondoland Royal Kingdom Prince Mlamli Ndamase lashed out at KSD municipality for bullying poor people and ignoring a court appeal against the demolitions.

It was an “open secret” that Maiden Farm, Hillcrest, Northcrest and Ncambedlana belonged to the kingdom despite it being stolen by a white magistrate around 1927, he said.

“We are handling the matter and all activities must stop pending the finalisation of appeal processes,” said Ndamase.

KSD spokesman Sonwabo Mampoza could not provide any details about the demolition saying he was out of town.

Mthatha police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Mzukisi Fatyela said the three men, aged between 25 and 40, were charged with arson, malicious damage to property and assault.

They are due to appear in the Mthatha Magistrate Court today.

Fidelity Services security could not be reached for comment.

-Loyiso Mpalantshane, DispatchLIVE

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