Teenager tells of bush knife attack by mob

2009-11-06 00:00

A MOTHER broke down wailing in the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday during the testimony of her son.

Ayanda Shabane (18) is in a witness protection programme, after surviving an attack by an armed mob who allegedly murdered his twin brother, Andile, at Hopewell near Thornville in February 2008.

His mother collapsed in response to evidence by Ayanda that he was calling for her while he and Andile sought refuge in a dam from an armed mob that was hunting them down.

Ayanda said that by then he had already been seriously injured with a bush knife and could not follow his brother to a spot where he had suggested they might be able to get out.

After the outburst the court adjourned, but Ayanda later indicated he was too traumatised to continue.

State advocate Adelaide Watt said Ayanda has been separated from his family since entering the witness protection programme and saw his mother yesterday for the first time in more than a year.

Earlier Ayanda identified two 17-year-olds among eight accused on trial and a 19-year-old accused, Foreman Sithole, as having been among those who attacked and injured him.

The court heard that a mob arrived at the Shabane homestead at night in search of Andile, who was charged with the murder of Sbongiseni Phakathi, a school-mate at Mlulama High.

The twins hid in a small room, but were discovered.

Ayanda was stabbed in his forearm in the house, but both twins escaped through a window and fled to the dam, chased by the attackers.

Ayanda said he fell and injured his foot. The twins ran into the water and their pursuers stopped at the edge.

Ayanda said there were shouts of “shoot, shoot” and a gunshot went off.

When the twins reached the other side of the dam he wanted to go back home because it was a “fearful place” and he was in pain. “My brother tore his shirt and tied my injured foot with his shirt,” he said.

He started walking back and after a while Andile followed him. When he’d got out of the dam and started to walk home he saw one of the attackers come running from the front and another behind him.

He was cut on his forearm and lost two fingers while warding off blows from a bush knife, he said. He was also hit on his back.

Ayanda said he managed to get back into the water to join his brother.

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