Protest leaders targeted

2016-05-25 06:00
LEAVING the Phekolong Hospital in Bohlokong, Bethlehem, are from the left Vusi Radebe and Bongani Maduna, who is pushing Mpho Mofokeng in a wheel-chair.

LEAVING the Phekolong Hospital in Bohlokong, Bethlehem, are from the left Vusi Radebe and Bongani Maduna, who is pushing Mpho Mofokeng in a wheel-chair.

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BOHLOKONG. – The three community leaders Mpho Mofokeng, Vusi Radebe and Mpho Mokoena, who lead protests for the immediate removal of influential councillors in the Dihlabeng Local Municipality, now live in fear.

The trio led a protest march to oust Lindiwe Makhalema (chief whip), David Lengoabala (speaker) and councillors Mafube Mofokeng, Shadrack Mofokeng and Deboy Masoau.

They are living in fear after allegedly being kidnapped and tortured by men working for the Zero Tolerance security company in Bethlehem on Thursday, 19 May. The privately-owned security ­company is contracted to the Dihlabeng Municipality.

The trio sustained severe injuries following the brutal attacks by their assailants, who allegedly beat them severely on a farm outside Bethlehem.

The attackers left Radebe with severe injuries and a broken arm. Mofokeng and Mokoena sustained internal injuries and also broken bones.

The three leaders, who are currently recuperating, told Express Eastern Free State of their alleged ordeal of being kidnapped and tortured by the Zero Tolerance security men on a farm outside Bethlehem.

“We were nearly killed by our assailants, who had covered our faces with plastic and tortured us on the farm,” said Mofokeng, whose pain was visible.

He goes around carrying a container that drains blood from his body.

On the same day, angry community members, including other leaders, went on the rampage in Bohlokong. They barrica-ded streets and roads with stones and burning tyres after the outbreak of the news that the three had been kidnapped.

Mofokeng said he had been waiting in Reineck Street with friends at around 10:00 when the Zero Tolerance Security company owner, Tefo Montsitsi, accompanied by his bodyguards, had grabbed him and threw him in a car. Radebe and Mokoena were already in the car.

“They stopped at the nurses’ home at the Dihlabeng Regional Hospital. After ten minutes he (Montsitsi) came back with plastics, which he gave to his bodyguards to cover our faces, making it impossible to see the direction they were going in. They drove to a farm where they beat us.

“While they were kicking us, they kept asking who instructed us to write the memorandum. They said if we don’t tell them the truth, we were going to die,” he said. Fearing to be killed, Mofokeng refused to be admitted to the Phekolong Hospital.

He told Express that he feared that the assailants could kill him in the hospital. According to him, the doctors said he had broken bones and severe internal injuries.

He said they had been kept in the car until 17:00. “One of the security members told us that there were five politicians on the farm where we were assaulted,” he said.

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