'Blanket men' spread terror
A 20-YEAR-OLD man from an informal settlement in Fochville lay at the Carletonville Hospital with a bullet lodged in his face, unaware that this father had been killed.
Realeboga Letsaka and his father were beaten up and shot at a tavern on Saturday night, allegedly by members of a gang identified by the colour of the blankets they wore. The area, known as East 5, is a mining settlement on private land.
The shooting claimed the life of another man and about 10 other people suffered gunshot wounds.
Thabang Joka's shack in another section of the township was one of five shacks burnt down that day. "I am told that they arrived at about 3pm when I was not there . When I arrived later, I was told that I must hide and find my way out of the township because I was a wanted man. Me and my two friends tried escaping at night but all exit routes were blocked by the men. We were hunted and finally cornered.
"One of my friends was shot in the chest. I was shot in the leg. My other friend kept running. I know them. They are from the yellow blankets," Joka said of the attackers.
The shooting took place at about 10pm. Eyewitnesses said about three men entered the tavern and opened fire. Then more men entered and assaulted everyone with knobkerries.
According to witnesses, Realeboga's father was first beaten up by the men, one of whom was shouting his name. Then another man delivered the final blow - four bullets in the upper body.
Rose Stefawe, the owner of the tavern, said there were about 30 people in the tavern. "The boy who was shot and his father killed was chased earlier by these blanket men," she said.
Community members said warring groups from Lesotho were the root of the violence, although it now seems as though people were being targeted regardless of their affiliation.
Gauteng police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said police were still investigating. - firstname.lastname@example.org