‘Reign of terror’: councillor gets 3 years

2013-11-06 14:19

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A leader of a fledgling Mpumalanga political organisation has been sentenced for the reign of terror his members allegedly inflicted on Bushbuckridge communities.

Delta Mokoena – the president of the Bushbuckridge Residents Association (BRA) and a councillor in Bushbuckridge – was yesterday sentenced to three years in prison for unlawfully evicting Aaron Zitha (49) from his home in Ga-Boelang village back in 2010.

Mokoena evicted Zitha after claiming that his 18-year-old son was a thief. He threatened to invite the community to set fire to him and his house if he did not leave the village.

Zitha is not the only victim. There are many others who claim that Mokoena and BRA members have been inciting residents to set houses alight and evict people accused of practising witchcraft, satanism and crime.

They have also been closing down schools for weeks after accusing teachers and pupils of being satanists and witches.

Tomorrow, Mokoena will be back in court for judgment in another case of allegedly torching the house of Ranson Mashile (66) in the same village in August last year, after accusing him of bewitching his friend and killing him.

Mokoena has been sleeping in the Acornhoek police station since August 19 2012 after a mob torched his house.

Zitha said that he had lost goats and pigs after he was evicted and his eight-room house was vandalised.

“My son had to drop out in Grade 10 and his life was destroyed. I had to leave my house to stay in a two-roomed shack with my other six children ... my life is totally messed up,” Zitha said.

He added that police only arrested Mokoena a year later after he had lodged a complaint on the presidential hotline.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Colonel Leonard Hlathi, said: “We’re making progress on these cases against BRA.”

BRA secretary Cleopus Maunye declined to comment and said the party would issue a statement tomorrow.

“We have a meeting today to discuss these developments,” Maunye said.

The BRA was formed by disgruntled ANC members and went on to contest the 2011 local government elections. It won seven out of 74 seats in the Bushbuckridge local council.

BRA has been a thorn in the flesh of the ANC and has made it impossible for the party to operate in some villages.

Last month, Mpumalanga police arrested three BRA members after they allegedly assaulted ANC members and disrupted their door-to-door campaign, which was attended by national election team members in Morolo village.

In January, BRA members incited community members to chase away Premier David Mabuza and his delegation of MECs after accusing them of using government resources to campaign for the ANC.

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