We were told to leave KZN village for supporting IFP, family claims

2016-02-03 11:53

Durban – A KwaZulu-Natal family says they are living in fear after allegedly being told to leave Nonzila village outside Pietermaritzburg for supporting the IFP.

Local chief Inkosi Nhlakanipho Maphumulo dismissed the family’s claim as "cheap politicking".

In a letter sent to the IFP, Vumeleni Bhengu - who has lived in Maqonqo, under the Maphumulo Traditional area, since 2011 - said men from the local Dlamini family approached her sons at a tuck shop on January 1.

"They asked Lindo Bhengu, my son, why he was wearing an IFP T-shirt because this was an ANC area. They told them that they do not need IFP members in the area."

Bhengu said an argument ensued and her sons, who were injured during a scuffle, were rushed to hospital.

"We never opened a case because the induna (headman) intervened and called a community meeting."

In January, he announced at a meeting that the two Bhengu families were to vacate the village immediately.

Another meeting was called on January 23.

"We were told not to come because we are not needed in the area. The next day the chief called us and told us that we must leave the area. I told the chief that my family had nowhere to go. We are scared to live with the community because we know they do not want us here."

IFP deputy national spokesperson Joshua Mazibuko said the matter was noted during a national executive committee meeting.

"It is a disgrace that almost 22 years into a democratic dispensation, we still have such barbaric incidents where people are victimised just because they are exercising their right to choose a particular political party. 

"What is worse is that this implicates inkosi and induna, leaders who are supposed to be custodians of peace, democracy, and ubuntu," said Mazibuko. 

'Just cheap politicking'

He said the party would take the matter up with ANC leaders. 

Maphumulo accused the Bhengus of lying.

"If that was the case, it would mean that I must chase everyone who is not ANC out of the village. Why would I single that family out?"

He said residents asked them to leave because Bhengu’s sons stabbed four local boys in December and were causing trouble.

"Our village took that family in from Ndwedwe when they had nowhere to go. Now they are torturing the community and the community is living in fear."

Umkhambathini municipality mayor Thobekile Maphumulo said she would investigate the allegations.

"My son is the chief and I can tell you now that this is just a cheap politicking agenda ahead of the elections. They are making up stories to paint the ANC in a bad light."

She would visit the area to make sure the Bhengus stayed.

"We won’t stand for IFP members who tarnish the name of our organisation. If they are at fault then they must leave. But if they have not done anything wrong, they should stay, regardless of who they support," she said.

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