Man killed in fracas over land

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

One man was killed, eight others arrested and several treated for injuries at the Maandagshoek Hospital in Driekop, Limpopo, yesterday when a scuffle broke out between two factions in Sekhukhune over land ownership.

The chairman of the community policing forum, Johannes Malungani, is fighting for his life in Dikolong Hospital after his shoulders were almost chopped off during the brawl.

About seven windows belonging to chief Jacob Mohlala's house were also damaged after being stoned by angry villagers who accused him of fuelling the rift between the community and a group of local miners.

Limpopo's spokesman for the department of health, Phuti Seloba, confirmed that Malungani had been admitted to hospital.

According to Chief Shatalekgolo Kgwete of the neighbouring village, a group of armed men went from door-to-door on Tuesday night forcing villagers to sign a document stating that they no longer needed the land they had initially claimed.

"The document claimed that the land has been sold and that they should vacate it immediately," said Kgwete.

He said the group proceeded to another house where they threatened to shoot the occupants if they did not sign the papers.

A fight ensued between the villagers and the miners, resulting in the death of one person and others sustaining injuries.

The rift between the villagers and a group of men employed at a nearby mine has been simmering for more than three years now.

The rift continued despite the recent intervention by Limpopo Premier Sello Moloto.

His spokesman Mogale Nchabeleng yesterday said progress had been made in trying to secure peace in the area.

Police spokesman Mohale Ramatseba yesterday identified the dead man as Abe Magofe, 25, from Dresden village outside Burgersfort.

"We have arrested eight suspects in connection with the incident.

"They will appear in the Mecklenburg magistrate's court today to face charges of murder and malicious damage to property," Ramatseba said.