Shots fired as Limpopo residents clash over church, tavern boundary fence

2017-04-17 20:16
SA police. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

SA police. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Polokwane - At least 15 people were injured and three houses vandalised in a dispute between members of a local church and residents in Mokhurumela, outside Senwabarana in Limpopo.

The conflict, which was because of a boundary fence separating the church from the tavern, started on Sunday evening, with residents allegedly being assaulted.

The Majana Tavern shares a fence with In His Presence Ministry.

It is alleged that church members started hurling stones at the tavern and tavern owner's house.

Florence Mpya, the tavern owner, said she was shocked when she saw a mob, with a person holding a machete.

"They broke the doors... beat boys who [ran] for cover and [stole] money from my house," said Mpya.

Police said two firearms were confiscated from the groups.

Residents beaten

Mpya told reporters that she was scared and concerned about what would happen to her.

Some residents said they were beaten inside the tavern and dragged into the church yard.

Mackenzie Raletjena, 22, was left with bruises on his head.

"We were sitting drinking and [were] surprised with people attacking us without asking questions or saying words," said Raletjena

Thapelo Mokgowa, who was also attacked and left with bruises on his body, said he said he was dragged into the church and assaulted.

Police said they were investigating cases opened by residents.

Shots fired

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said officers were investigating a number of cases emanating from the conflict.

"During this situation shots were fired from these groups and a number of cars were damaged by throwing stones... Some people were injured [in this] which started from [Sunday] until today," said Ngoepe.

Cases of house robbery, business robbery, pointing of a firearm and attempted murder were opened.

No arrests have been made and investigations were continuing.

The situation on Monday evening was said to be tense, but calm, and police were patrolling the area.

Mpya said the relationship between her tavern and the church was longstanding, but had never before been violent.

She opened her tavern in 2009, and the church was established three years later.

Some residents want the church to be moved.

The church's pastor could not be reached for comment.

Read more on:    polokwane  |  crime

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