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Pretoria - Placed between two tyres, handcuffed and minutes away from being necklaced, a young Soshanguve man is very lucky to be alive.
Following several housing disputes flaring between two rival groups in the township, residents have been living in fear for six days after many were forcibly evicted, others beaten, one person left dead and several homes torched.
Residents who spoke to the Pretoria News on Tuesday said they were tired of the mob-like activity that has taken over their community.
The death of a disabled Plastic View woman, allegedly at the hands of fuming Extension 6 and 7 residents and the near-death of a young man at the weekend are causing tensions to boil in the area.
The problems started on Wednesday last week after some residents living in newly built RDP houses in Plastic View were evicted by metro police and housing departments.
The residents claim they had to occupy the houses illegally as they believed the homes were being sold by the local councillor and his “agents”.
Out of anger, they descended on extension 6 last week and set alight the house of a man they believed was selling the RDP houses.
This sparked days of violence.
Extension 6 residents then stormed into Plastic View and began forcefully evicting the few people living in the disputed houses while allegedly threatening them by wielding guns, knives, and machetes.
On Saturday morning the evictions continued by the mob that allegedly broke down doors and turfed out appliances, furniture and owners from their homes.
A young man who tried to help his mother pick up her belongings, nearly paid with his life.
He and his mother on Tuesday spoke of his ordeal on condition of anonymity for fear of being further victimised.
“I thought I was going to die. I couldn’t run away because there were so many of them and they were surrounding me,” he said.
The mob got angry when he tried to help his mother collect her belongings that had been flung out.
“They handcuffed him while police looked on.
“They said they were going to burn him alive,” his mother said.
“I have no idea why they put the handcuffs on me. They were very tight and hurt my hands. They assaulted me as well and took me to the other side of the village to their area,” he said.
“They placed me between two tyres and were going to burn me,” the victim added.
According to the man, two elderly men who had heard the commotion came to his rescue.
“They told the mob to let me go, but they didn’t want to.
“The two men then took a grinder and cut the handcuffs off and told me to run,” he said.
As he sprinted off, the mob started throwing stones at him and two men ran after him with a machete but he managed to get away.
“We live in fear now because those people can come back at any time. They are ruthless and don’t care who they hurt or kill,” the man said.
His mother and another two women who were also evicted from their homes by the mob, shared his sentiments.
“We have nowhere to go now. We are living with friends.
“All these problems are because of houses.
“The city needs to come and give the proper papers for the houses to the proper people and all this will end.
“When will they listen? When hundreds are dead?” the man’s mother asked.
The young man said he had not laid any criminal charges, as he was fearful of further intimidation and threats by the mob.
Police spokeswoman Captain Rianna van Aarde said police would remain in the area and continue to monitor the situation until complete calm has returned.