'We are not safe in our home and forced to sell'

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

A couple believes that for as long as they live in Zonnebloem Estate in Brakpan, Ekurhuleni, their lives are in danger.

The young couple has now been forced to put their townhouse on the market after their home was broken into twice in less than a year.

Their gardener was bitten by a pit bull terrier belonging to neighbours, who they accuse of being focused on driving blacks out and making the area a "whites only territory".

Their home was vandalised last Saturday. The couple claims that whites who live two houses away from theirs are responsible and want them out of the complex. The owner no longer lives there and has rented the house out.

Thabo Tofile said: "We live in fear. We do not know what will happen next. We do not sleep. We are always waiting for something to happen."

He said their troubles started when they moved into the complex in 2007.

"We do not know what their problem is. They watch our every move. We have tried everything to keep the peace but we are not succeeding. We now fear that they will kill us," he said.

Tofile says their house was first broken into in April last year.

"They took our clothes, shoes, my wedding rings, watch, pots, bedding and appliances, among other things," said Tofile's wife Mmabatho.

"Nine months later our house was broken into again. They took a plasma screen and my Russell Hobbs kitchen appliances. They cleaned us out."

Police Captain Mandla Phori said the housebreaking case had been closed as undetected and that another of common assault was still under investigation.

When Sowetan visited the Tofiles at home on Tuesday, the sliding door and bedroom window were broken and had not been fixed.

"When I came home I saw a group of people jump over the wall into my yard. They chased after me. I tried to jump over an electric fence but got hurt," Tofile said.

"We are not safe anymore. Next time we won't make it to the police station."

Gardner Paul Mthethwa said: "A white man who lives two houses away came to me and asked where my boss was. I told him he was not available but his brother was. When I was about to leave the yard he let loose a pit bull that bit my hand.

"I do not know how I survived. That dog could have killed me."

But woman who rents the house said: "I do not want to comment."