Family live in fear of killers

2015-08-31 09:56
Grieving family members of slain Mkondeni community leader Bongani Mthalane sit on the mattress as part of the mourning practice. Mthalane’s mother Gladys Mthalane (68) with granddaughter Esihle (2) centre Mthalane’s children from left Thabiso (17),

Grieving family members of slain Mkondeni community leader Bongani Mthalane sit on the mattress as part of the mourning practice. Mthalane’s mother Gladys Mthalane (68) with granddaughter Esihle (2) centre Mthalane’s children from left Thabiso (17), (Ian Carbutt)

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CONFUSED and scared, the family of the Mkondeni community leader who was murdered last Tuesday are terrified they might be next on the hit list.

Bongani Mthalane (48), a security guard working in Pietermaritzburg, was approached by two men on Tuesday. The men entered his home in Mkondeni and shot him in front of his wife.

Although the motive for the killing is unclear, there are suspicions among the community that the shooting was the result of an ongoing land dispute.

Mthalane and his community were evicted from a farm in Ashburton a few years ago when Aqua Trading bought Annidale Farm, the land they were living on.

The community was moved to a property in Mkondeni; however, it was later discovered that the land was privately owned and the community again faced eviction.

With the matter in court and Mthalane dead, the small community’s new leader, who is in hiding and would not be named, said the men who killed Mthalane had first visited her house, but left when they discovered she was not home.

Mthalane’s younger brother, Musa Mthalane (45), said he trusts nobody.

“As far as I know, you could be one of the killers trying to fish out information. I know better than to trust somebody whom I haven’t met face to face,” he said.

Musa said it would be best if the police caught the killers.

“As long as my brother’s killers are still out there, I will trust nobody,” he said.
There is much speculation about the motive for the killing, but Musa and his family in his Mpumuza home chose not to join in the guesswork.

“Obviously people are talking, but I think it would be unwise of us to start speculating over something we do not have evidence of. In fact, I’m not even sure of the issues around Mkondeni. All I know is that he was the community leader,” said Musa.

“I received a call from one of the community leaders in Mkhondeni, telling me my brother had been shot.

“They said he was shot in the chest and said he was in a critical condition. I went there as quickly as I could, and found out that he had died.

“I guess they did not want to tell me over the phone that he had died,” he said.
Pietermaritzburg SAPS spokesperson Constable Mthokozisi Ngobese said an arrest in the case was imminent, and that the police were “keeping an eye” on the area.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder

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