News - Date: 24 March 2019
Written by: Elmon Tshikhudo / Viewed: 3512
A few years ago, the Vuwani area became the scene of strife and violent protests that left many schools and other properties torched in protest against the inclusion of the area into a new municipality that includes areas of Malamulele.
This week brought back those sad memories when streets were barricaded with rocks and burning tyres by angry community members at Tshino. The angry community members went on the rampage and left a trail of destruction, with properties belonging to Zimbabweans burnt to ashes in their wake.
Community members said they were tired of criminal activities taking place in the area, since innocent community members were feeling the wrath of the criminals, losing their valuables in robberies and theft while women were being raped. They blamed the rampant crime on illegal Zimbabweans staying in the area.
The animosity in the local community has been brewing for some time.
Last year, some known criminals, including a few locals, were hounded out of their homes and viciously punished by the community after they were accused of robbing a family and raping a teenage girl.
One of the suspects died at the scene and his accomplices were taken to hospital with serious injuries. After this incident, people thought there would be peace in the area, but crime still persisted. Tired of the continuing crime, the community barricaded roads and burnt tyres in the area, bringing everything to a standstill on Sunday.
“We are tired of these people. They have turned this once peaceful village into a violent place. There has been so much crime here, and since their arrival here we have not known peace. The sooner they leave here, the better. They must not have a place to stay here as they are involved in crime,” said a resident.
Others in the community, however, do not believe that chasing Zimbabweans from the village will be the solution to the spiralling crime problem. “We know that there are some Zimbabweans who are involved in crime, but they are not the only people doing crime and locals are also involved. What are we doing about the local criminals? Is this the way to go in solving crime here, or is this just another form of xenophobia?” remarked a resident, who preferred to remain anonymous.
Limpopo police spokesperson Col Moatshe Ngoepe said they had arrested two suspects, aged 39 and 53 respectively, on Monday night after the violent protest that had erupted at Tshino. He said eight houses belonging to foreign nationals had been torched during the rampage at around 19:00 and that the motive behind the incident was still unknown.
"The situation in the area has now returned to normal, but public order police members are still monitoring the situation," Ngoepe said. "The arrested suspects are expected to appear in the Vuwani Magistrate's Court soon on charges of public violence, malicious damage to property and arson."
Police investigations are continuing, including the tracing of other possible suspects.
Anyone with information that can lead to the arrest of the remaining suspects is requested to contact Captain Ntshengedzeni Dzivhani at 082 565 7794, the crime stop number 0860010111, the SMS crime line 32211 or the nearest police station.
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