Alcohol, drugs and murder in Ivory Park

2015-10-04 16:57

There are no bloody turf wars or bands of professional executioners roaming the streets of Ivory Park, but the bodies are piling up. 

The township, home to more than 300 000 people, lies between Midrand and Tembisa. 

It looks and sounds like any other, with brightly painted houses and loud music blaring from cars. 

But sitting in popular tavern Lillian’s Place on Phuza Thursday, Ivory Park locals speak of the recent police figures, which show that 98 people were murdered over the past year, 18 more than the year before. 

They say that young people, jobless and hopeless, have – fuelled by alcohol and drugs – turned to killing. 

A 20-year-old woman, known to neighbours as Dikeledi, was raped and strangled when she left the tavern in the early hours of last Sunday morning after an evening out. 

Friends Tshepo Phahlane and Kgotso Nxumalo say they were the last to see her alive. 

“We were together with her at Lillian’s Place. But she left with a friend and two other guys. We were shocked to hear the next day that she was raped and strangled. We were told the killer called her mother to tell her he had killed her,” said Phahlane. 

“People went to the shack where the guy lived, broke down the door and found her dead inside. She was bleeding from the mouth and nose. But the guy, who is rumoured to be Mozambican, had disappeared.” 

Phahlane says her alleged killer was a regular at Lillian’s Place. 

But Dikeledi was not the first to die there. 

On New Year’s Eve, patrons watched in horror as a schoolmate buried an okapi knife several times into 17-year-old Themba Mokoena’s stomach and chest. 

Nxumalo said the teen had been drinking with friends when Mokoena grabbed a beer bottle and delivered several blows to his killer’s head. 

“Somebody gave the killer a knife. Lillian rushed Mokoena to the Tembisa Hospital, but he died along the way. The killer was also taken to the hospital because he was injured,” said Nxumalo. 

“An enraged mob of Mokoena’s friends and family rushed to the hospital with knives, clubs and other objects wanting to finish him off at the hospital, but the police and security stopped them.” 

A staff member at Lillian’s Place who identified herself as Kate declined to comment, but asked City Press for advice on how to prevent people from fighting and killing each other at the tavern. 

Nxumalo says the taverns and shebeens people use as landmarks when they give directions are often the places where the violence starts. 

Early this year, he escaped with minor injuries at nearby Themba’s Place after an assault. 

Joshua Mothuke, the chairperson of the local community policing forum, says his phone is always ringing with residents reporting crime. 

“Yesterday morning, I was woken up by a call. People reported that somebody was stabbed and left for dead near the Kopanong shopping centre. What do we do?We cannot fold our arms and allow criminals to defeat us. 

“We will fight until the bitter end.”

Read more on:    crime statistics

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