Stop night raids, cops told

2013-03-12 00:00

RESIDENTS in the Muden community near Greytown trust no one and say they live in fear after the weekend’s massacre of six men of the Mkhize family.

Some residents told the The Witness they had lost trust and respect for the police for what they described as continuing harassment during raids for illegal firearms.

Last Saturday night, five assailants knocked at the doors of the family homestead posing as policemen. Once the doors were opened, they began shooting.

Genuine police officers have since been visiting homes in the area, also searching for firearms.

Speaking in Zulu, Bongani Magushu said some members of the community hid from the police “because they come whenever they want and intimidate us in our homes”.

He said most members were unsure what was really happening in their community.

“What we have found is that these police are not from our local police station,” Magushu said.

He questioned what firearms the police were looking for given that the residents had handed theirs in during the firearms amnesty in 2010.

“This [raiding] should be stopped before we are all killed by these cop impersonators,” Magushu said.

A Mkhize family member, Mlungisi Myaka, said he was scared.

He pleaded with the KZN police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, to deploy more police to the area.

Myaka said he was not happy with how the police were conducting raids.

“We’re scared when the sun sets, because we are not sure what will happen during the night.

“Police always come to our houses at night, bashing and kicking doors, saying they want illegal firearms.

“Please can there be another way of doing these raids. Can they come during daylight, so everyone can see that if they are indeed police officers? We would also like to see identification cards as proof,” Myaka said.

Ngobeni said the police would look at how better to protect the community.

In February, police raided the Mkhize homestead looking for firearms and found an unlicensed gun belonging to a family member, Mhlengi, who was killed in Saturday's massacre.

Mhlengi was released without being charged in February and had told his family that the police had demanded a R1 500 bribe.

Ngobeni said that if the investigation team discovered foul play in Mhlengi’s case, disciplinary action would be taken against the officers.

The investigation team is led by Major General Mjabuliswa Ngcobo and Brigadier Clifford Marion. The two top officers in the province did not want to comment on the matter.

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