Sondela death toll rises

Sondela death toll rises.
Sondela death toll rises.
Image: STOCK IMAGE

The number of people who have died in the clashes between  Sothos and Xhosas in Sondela, Rustenburg,  North West, has increased to 12.

North West police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone told Sowetan on Thursday  that  the person who died had been a victim of the attacks which took place in November. 

“Unfortunately, one man who was assaulted during the violence that took place from the 18th to the 26 of November has died. The man died in hospital yesterday (on Wednesday),” said Mokgwabone.

Meanwhile, six people appeared in the Rustenburg magistrate’s court on Thursday to face charges of murder and kidnapping, which are related to the Sondela killings. The six will be back in court on  December 12 for bail application.

“One of the six suspects who appeared in court today (Thursday) will again appear in court tomorrow (on Friday). He will join three other suspects who are facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder. This takes the total number of people who have been arrested to nine,” said Mokgwabone.

Police found five people dead on November 26 after clashes the night before. Six other people died between November 18 and 24 in the fights between a group of Sotho men known as Marashia and Xhosa men.

Neighbours told Sowetan that the clashes began when one Xhosa man allegedly attacked a Sotho man over a woman. When the man later went to watch soccer at the local ground, he was allegedly attacked by Sothos, triggering the mayhem. Tit-for-tat killings began with rival groups raiding homes in search of their “enemies”.

Since the attacks, residents have been living in fear as they do not know what to expect next. Most people do not get out during the night as the attacks have been carried out in the evening.

Some of the people who were killed were set alight while others were brutally assaulted with sharp objects. Sondela residents said a group of people came in the night, took the victims and killed them in various parts of the informal settlement.

Sondela is an informal settlement situated next to the Rustenburg mining area. It is not divided according to different nationalities or tribes. Xhosas live together with Sothos, Mozambicans and other nationalities.

Most of Sondela is made up of shacks which accommodate people who have come to work in the mine. There are small formal structures but many are surrounded by shacks. 

Mokgwabone said the situation in Sondela was quiet.

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