“Racist Attack”: Man assaulted, his shop was torched and looted
Fuming residents of Machado in Mpumalanga said the attack on a 41-year-old-man was not an isolated incident.
Residents said at about 4pm on Monday afternoon, Godfrey Masuku got into a fight with a mlungu.
Nompumelelo Ndlovu, who employed the victim, said at lunch time the mlungu passed by her shop and greeted them, as he always does.
“But then the mlungu came back and started fighting with Godfrey. He used a pepper spray and grabbed him by his clothes,” said Nompumelelo.
An Indian man who owns a shop in the street and employs the mlungu, allegedly called the Community Policing Forum members.
“Mlungu CPF members came and assaulted my worker,” said Nompumelelo.
“There was blood everywhere. The police were called but the CPF continued to assault Godfrey.”
She said that’s why residents were angry and set fire to the shop belonging to the Indian man.
Godfrey said he doesn’t know what caused the fight. He said all he remembers is being pushed around by the same man who greeted him every day on the street.
“Then two other guys arrived and moered me,” said Godfrey.
“My body is sore and I don’t know if I’ll ever get the memory of this out of my mind. I’m still traumatised.”
The police finally arrived but the fighting continued for some minutes. The two CPF members were eventually arrested.
Residents said several racial attacks have occurred lately. Some people even claimed the attacks led to the death of residents.
“The CPF patrols during the night and when they meet black people they question them about being on the street,” said a resident.
“It’s as if black people don’t have a right to walk in the streets at night. They behave as if we still live in apartheid days.”
On Tuesday morning the shop was still burning. The owner was apparently also beaten and taken to hospital.
Residents went to the police station to demand that the suspects should not be taken to a different court to apply for bail.
Police spokesman Colonel Mtsholi Bhembe said two males aged 20 and 29 were arrested and are facing charges of assault.
He said a case of arson was also opened. Bhembe pleaded with the community not to use violence or stop the police from doing their work.
The police could not confirm whether people had been found dead as a result of being assaulted by CPF members.
The two CPF members are expected to appear before Machado Periodical Court today.