Makhonyeni community living in fear following crocodile sightings

Makhonyeni community living in fear following crocodile sightings

The Makhonyeni community in Jozini, KwaZulu-Natal, is living in fear after seeing crocodiles crawling near some houses in the area.

It is suspected that the crocodiles were swept away from the Jozini Dam near the Makhathini fields during the recent heavy rains.

So far no one has been injured by the crocodiles.

Ward 5 councillor, Bonginkosi Mahaye, is urging community members to stay away from the dam and not allow children to go swimming there.

He has accused Ezemvelo Wild Life of dragging its feet to go fetch the animals.

Wildlife experts agree with Mahaye that residents should stay away from the water.

They say crocodiles are present in Jozini and their appearance is not new.

Environmentalist, Musa Mntambo, says they always take them back, but they return because water is a natural habitat for crocodiles.

Njokweni family in dire straits following house collapse, loss of life

Njokweni family in dire straits following house collapse, loss of life

The Njokweni family in Mboza, KwaZulu-Natal, has been dealt a double blow following the collapse of the wall of the house, which claimed gogo Agrennet Gumede (80).

Heavy rains, fanned by strong winds, caused the collapse.

Speaking to Matubaland FM news, gogo Gumede’s grandson Xolani Dlamini says the 80-year-old passed away in hospital after the incident.

He says gogo’s son, who had been sick for a while, also lost his battle with life on the same day his mother passed on.

Gogo Gumede was sitting with her daughter Perret Njokweni (58) when the wall of the house collapsed on them.

Njokweni is in a critical condition at Ngwelezane Hospital.

“While my aunt managed to escape – gogo couldn’t. Neighbours came out to assist the family and we called an ambulance which came and took them to hospital,” says Dlamini.

Ward 13 councillor, where the incident occurred, John Gwala has warned the community to be careful when it rains.

He says no other incidents have been reported in the area, other than the Njokweni tragedy.

Mtubatuba woman wants justice following false kidnap accusation

Mtubatuba woman wants justice following false kidnap accusation

A woman who was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping a six-day-old infant in Mtubatuba in Mfekayi, KwaZulu-Natal, wants justice.

Thulisile Mfekayi also wants the child’s family to apologise for the pain and humiliation they have caused her.

She is accusing the child’s father of previously threating to burn her house down.

The boy, Nhlakanipho Gumede, is now nine years old and was found in Daveyton’s Emaphupheni section, in Johannesburg last year.

Mfekayi says Gumede’s parents must apologise to the Chief and the Mkhwanazi dynasty for their actions.

“This issue traumatised me and now that the child has been found – they haven’t even said anything to me. They hunted me down and even tried hacking me despite my insistence that I had nothing to do with their child’s disappearance. They even involved the police. I never ran away because I knew I was innocent,” she says.

The child’s mother, Fikelephi Mpotshane, says they were desperate to find the child that they even confused things.

She says a community member who was assisting them with the search for their child had fingered Mfekayi.

However, when she did tell the police that Mfekayi was not the culprit.

She says Mfekayi is not the only one who was suspected of the kidnap.

Mpotshane says once the court case for the woman who is now in custody for the boy’s kidnap is finalised – her family will sit down and decide on how to handle the matter.

Law expert, Professor Xolani Zikhali, is advising Mfekayi to get a lawyer and sue the state for wrongful arrest.

House demolishing in Mpumpula sparks fears of violence

House demolishing in Mpumpula sparks fears of violence

The community of Mpumpula in Duvela, kwaCeza, in KwaZulu-Natal is irate after White people destroyed a home that was still under construction.

One of the men claims the land in which the community is building houses belongs to his family.

However, residents have rejected this as false.

They say they were given permission to build on the land by the authorities.

They say even the woman’s whose home has now been destroyed was given the green light at a meeting between the White man, the community and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

The land, they say, is under the guardianship of chief Buthelezi from the Mpithimpithini community.

The owner of the demolished structure, Nkosingiphile Mnguni, says she wishes to die following the incident, especially since her property was destroyed despite her having a permit to build in the area.

Residents say police officers accompanied the White men when they carried out their act.

A relative of the affected woman, Nduduzo Mnguni, says the police officers also shot and injured one community member.

Ward 4 councillor, Manyomfana Masondo, from the Ulundi Municipality is calling for an intervention. “We urge those who can intervene in this matter to help us. I see this issue getting out of hand and the community is angry.”

The area in the eye of the storm is a former game reserve.

The man who claims to be the owner of the land was in a process of destroying other homes in the community.

However, residents are adamant this won’t happen.

KwaHlabisa family distraught after losing home to Cyclone Eloise

KwaHlabisa family distraught after losing home to Cyclone Eloise

Cyclone Eloise has left a trail of destruction in KwaHlabisa, in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Khumalo family is now homeless after the heavy rains destroyed their home and many others in the area.

The matriarch of the family was distraught and could not speak to reporters.

Instead, she referred questions to her daughter, Sanele Khumalo.

Khumalo says they have gone to her grandmother’s house for shelter.

Member of the Ward 10 Committee in the Nkiwaneni area, Bhekinkosi Ngubane, has expressed concern at the family’s plight.

He says the situation is dire even at the home the Khumalos have moved to.

The South African Weather Service expects the rain to subside and things to return to normal soon.

Criminals target homes amid lockdown, says Mhlabuyalinga CPF

Criminals target homes amid lockdown, says Mhlabuyalinga CPF

The Mhlabuyalingana Community Policing Forum (CPF) has expressed concern over the increase in armed robberies at a time when people are being encouraged to stay home because of COVID-19. 

Deputy chairperson, Professor Xolani Zikhali, says in Mkhanyakude armed criminals sometimes pounce on people while at home and take whatever possessions they want.

“On the surface it seems like the crime rate is currently down. However, when you look at issues on the ground – people are bearing the brunt of criminal activities in communities,” he says.

 Prof Zikhali says drug abuse is sometimes behind the crimes. 

While acknowledging a decrease in car hijackings due to increased police visibility and the current curfew aimed at limiting movement as the country continues to battle COVID-19, Zikhali is worried about people who continue selling alcohol despite the current ban on sales.

“This leads to people breaking the curfew as they congregate at those places to drink.” 

Zikhali is urging community members to adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols and stop breaking the law.

Umkhanyakude authorities report decline in car theft

Umkhanyakude authorities report decline in car theft

The Anti-Vehicle Trafficking Unit in Umkhanyakude, in KwaZulu-Natal, says car theft has dropped significantly under level 3 lockdown.

The unit’s chairperson Joseph Ngubane is attributing the good news to roadblocks and increased police visibility.  

The cars are normally stolen in various parts of South Africa and taken to Mozambique via Jozini.

Last year, tired of hijackings, residents in the district took the streets, calling for more action to end hijackings in the area.

They also beat up men believed to be part of a car syndicate, who gave up the names of law enforcement officers accused of involvement in the trafficking of cars.  

“It was really bad before the lockdown but now things are much better. The hijackers are people who live among us and are now cautious because the police are all over. Roadblocks all over the country are also helpful because at the borders – they have been passing through despite patrols,” Ngubane says.

He hopes for more roadblocks along the border posts in Mkhanyakude.

“Although we understand that budgetary constrains could prevent the deployment of more police officers – we believe the roadblocks will really keep the crime levels down.”

He has also lamented the passing of KwaZulu-Natal Transport and Community Safety and Liaison MEC, Bheki Ntuli.

Ngubane says Ntuli was committed to crime fighting and at the time of his passing – they were planning a meeting to find lasting solutions to vehicle trafficking. 

Ntuli died of COVID-19 related complications recently and was laid to rest on Thursday.

Jozini kidnap victim’s mother hopes for harsher sentence

Jozini kidnap victim’s mother hopes for harsher sentence

The Ingwavuma Magistrate’s Court in KwaZulu-Natal has postponed the child abduction case against Khanyisile Ngubane to next week Tuesday.

Ngubane is accused of kidnapping a 6-day-old infant from Phaweni in 2011, who was found recently in Johannesburg. 

The boy’s mother, Fikelephi Mpontshane, wants Ngubane to spend the rest of her life in jail, saying her heart breaks every time she sees her.

Mpontshane warns that she will take the law into her own hands should she be acquitted.

She says Ngubane robbed her of a chance to nurture her infant son.

Mpontshane alleges that she is not Ngubane’s only victim and fears she might come back for her son, Nhlakanipho.

Nhlakanipho, now nine, was found in 2020 in Daveyton’s Emaphupheni Section in Ekurhuleni after Ngubane confessed to the crime to a social worker.

He had been living with Ngubane’s former boyfriend, Joseph Ndala, at the time.

Police in Jozini have admitted that the case was not easy to crack.

Spokesperson, Captain Senzo Gumede, has urged community members to work closely with the police to fight crime.

Forgo traditions, guard your safety – urges Zulu king

Forgo traditions, guard your safety – urges Zulu king

Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuZulu, is urging amaZulu to avoid funerals of people who are not their relatives as the country continues to battle a surge in COVID-19 infections.

The king has sent condolences to families who have lost their loved ones to the pandemic.

Urging his subjects to take the disease seriously, king Zwelithini urged the public to attend funerals that they cannot avoid.

He says they shouldn’t worry too much about some of the cutural rituals they are accustomed to as those can still be fulfilled once the battle against COVID-19 has been won.

“It would be a tragedy for people to place traditions before their own safety,” the king said.

Quoting a Scripture on 2 Chronicles, the king also urged South Africa to seek God’s forgiveness so that he can bring healing on the land.

Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa also urged South Africans to avoid funerals, saying attending them has become a death trap.

The President says the events have become super-spreaders of the disease, which has killed 35 852 South Africans.

In KwaZulu-Natal alone, 5 964 people have succumbed to the virus and 269 632 others are infected.

Mpembeni family upset after burying wrong body

Mpembeni family upset after burying wrong body

The Kunene family in Mpembeni, Kwahlabisa in KwaZulu-Natal, says government’s COVID-19 restrictions are violating cultural norms.

The family is upset after it buried a wrong body.

They learnt about the faux pas when their funeral parlour, Icebolethu, informed them a few days after they laid gogo Gumede, whom they thought was gogo Kunene, to rest.

Family spokesperson Mbongeleni Kunene is blaming the funeral parlour for this.

He says the undertaker only opened the coffin slightly and showed gogo Gumede’s face who had the same complexion as gogo Kunene. She was also wearing a hat similar to the one gogo Kunene had.

Kunene is worried that people will end up burying animals due to the COVID-19 regulations.

A spokesperson for the Gumede family says they realised that they were given a wrong body when they went to fetch their relative’s remains for burial.

They then alerted the undertaker to the mistake, who upon investigating established that gogo Gumede had actually been given to the Kunene family.

The funeral parlour at the centre of the controversy has meanwhile denied allegations that it did not allow the Kunene family a chance to view the body of their loved one.

Icobelethu spokesperson Nkosenhle Hlophe says refusing the family a fair chance to view their loved one’s remains would have been in violation of the law.

According to Hlophe, the law demands that families confirm the identity of their deceased relative.

However, he adds, they do this while they adhere to government’s COVID-19 regulations, which allow them to open the body bag for family viewing by one relative at a time – in the presence of a mortuary attendant who is wearing personal protective equipment.

However, the washing and preparing of the mortal remains by family members is not encouraged due to health risks.

Below pictures, show the exhumation of gogo Gumede’s body that had been buried.