Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

A feud that started over a love affair two years ago has claimed a sixth victim in a 70-year-old pensioner.

The body of Bhobhojane Biyela was found with 10 gunshot wounds a day before a scheduled meeting to end the conflict. In the end the meeting did not take place because one of the parties involved did not arrive.

The feud started when Mzazawane Skhakhane was allegedly gunned down by Zitha Mcineka, who had accused him of having an affair with his mother.

Mcineka was arrested but later released because of a lack of evidence. This resulted in the Skhakhanes attacking the Mcinekas in revenge.

Last month, a member of Ncalane who was influential in the election of another Mcineka member into the position of induna or headman was gunned down. Soon thereafter homesteads belonging to the Mcinekas were burnt down.

Residents have fled their homes in Melmoth on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast. They sleep in the mountains fearing attack from the feuding families.

The area has been peaceful since police arrested 10 people last week. Five are facing charges of murder and the other five are charged with public violence. They are all still in custody.

The conflicting parties failed to show up for a "peace meeting" on Sunday. A follow-up meeting has been set for next Monday.

The meeting was called by local inkosi Chakide Biyela - not related to the deceased - who is concerned that his authority is being undermined by the conflict.

Biyela confirmed yesterday that the Mcinekas did not show up.

Helen Shandu, a community worker from a nearby area, said she had to postpone an Aids awareness campaign because of the tensions.

"We were to have an awareness campaign because people there are illiterate and know nothing about what's happening around them, but unfortunately we had to cancel everything," said Shandu.

Police spokesman Jay Naicker said Biyela was killed while fetching fire wood in a nearby forest. He said the area remained tense but no incidents were reported overnight.