Residents live in fear after killing

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The latest murder of a man at strife-torn Steadville township in Ladysmith, northern KwaZulu-Natal, has renewed fears among residents that the conflict between rival gangs is on the rise.

Sifiso Shabalala, 31, was stabbed to death during an argument with a 35-year-old suspect, Mandla Msimang.

Msimang was arrested shortly after the incident on Sunday. He appeared in court yesterday and will be in court again on November 15. His bail was set at R800.

Residents are now worried that peace in the area will be affected by this latest killing.

More than 20 people have died in fights between the Ndawo and Ndwandwe gangs. The leaders of both gangs have been killed since the violence erupted in 2000.

In August, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for transport, community safety and liaison Bheki Cele visited the area after requests from the community.

Within hours of his visit, three people were arrested.

"We cried for peace in the area after so many died in the gang warfare. Our plea was taken seriously and the MEC brought police from Durban to stabilise the situation. People linked to crime activities were arrested," a resident, Nomathemba Mhayise said.

She said the latest killing had brought back fears to many people. "We do not know what will happen now because some people do not take things lying down when it comes to the killing of their loved ones".

Police spokesman Captain Charmaine Struwig, said they were alerted about the murder of Shabalala in J section. "Police arrived on the scene and found him dead.

She said the stabbing appeared to have stemmed from an argument between the two men. It was suspected liquor had played a role in the incident.