A bitter gang war in Newcastle, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, has claimed the lives of five young men in less than two months. The groups are based in oSizweni and Blaauwbosch. It is feared that the rising gangsterism will infest other neighbouring townships.
Families of the deceased gang members, who belonged to the “Ama Last Warning Gang”, have accused police of not acting swiftly after the killings.
Khanyisile Vilakazi, who is the relative of the late Siyabonga and Jabulane Magubane as well as the relative of the late Stevani Mbatha, share their frustrations: “We are now living in fear, we are scared of leaving our homes, we don’t sleep at night because at some point there was a group of people who came to our home with weapons. After the death of my brother, our lives have changed for the worst, although police came to the scene, but we do not know how far they are with their investigations.”
The families say: “All these kids who are still at school now they are unable to go to school, the other group attacks them at the school, we have been reporting these incidents with the police, we are not getting help, we are puzzled which community is our local police station is serving. These boys were not killed in one day, police were supposed to act there and arrest those responsible now we have lost four kids and the last one to be killed was shot with almost 12 bullets.”
Dudu Mntambo, the relative of the late Vusi Mbatha, claims that there is a known drug dealer also involved in the groups.
“We are forever being terrorised because of one people who is selling drugs, the unfortunate part is he is known but police are not arresting him. They took my boy here with a car, he was taken by his so-called friend, he took him straight to the people who killed him, we told police about that but they have never questioned that boy.”