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Residents in Muldersdrift 'sitting ducks'

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Meghan Botha (schoolgirl on the extreme right), whose sister was killed in Muldersdrift, joined local residents protesting outside the Krugerdorp Magistrate court earlier this year. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya

Johannesburg - As more Muldersdrift residents leave because of violent crime, those choosing to stay agree that they are sitting ducks for criminals.

At the weekend, Jacques Botha was shot in a home invasion and died before reaching hospital. The same gang is believed to have shot a farmworker in the leg as he returned home and robbed him of his groceries.

Another man was stabbed and injured during a home robbery on the same property that Botha died less than two days before, while employees of a nearby lodge were also attacked. No injuries were reported.

Muldersdrift resident and business owner Paul Starkey said crime was out of control in their area and more attacks were inevitable. “There is no question that another murder will soon take place. It is not a matter of if but when,” said Starkey, 53.

The violence gripping Muldersdrift is not only leaving people dead, maimed and living in fear, but is also leaving some without an income.

Ten years ago, Warren Lurie left his parents’ Morningside home and moved to the family plot in Muldersdrift, making an income from the eight cottages on the property.

However, when the violence in the area reached new heights this year, more tenants moved out. And on Saturday, Lurie’s tenant Botha was shot three times and killed by men who fled without taking anything of value.

Scared and fed up with the crime, Lurie moved out at the weekend to go back home and now has no income.

He said the robbers took an empty handbag and briefcase, and an old and disused laptop from the Botha family, which their three-year-old son played nursery rhymes on.

“They are ruthless people who just wanted to prove a point,” he said of the killers.

Starkey, who was also attacked last year, said he was concerned that the violence might spark xenophobia because of talk by locals that some foreigners were behind the attacks.

Recently, he said, two Mozambicans were caught while trying to rob a taxidermist in the area. On Friday, two Malawians were arrested for house robbery at around 2pm, he said.

Three Zimbabweans, believed to be in the country illegally, were arrested in connection with the September murder of 13-year-old Alyssa Botha. Alyssa, her father and sister were attacked when they arrived at their Muldersdrift plot. They allegedly shot her in the stomach, shot her sister in both legs and shot their father in the stomach. Alyssa died at the scene.

Starkey said while he believed that the police on the ground did their job and always responded when called, the detectives who were supposed to be investigating were lagging behind with their work.

Starkey, who is busy documenting the violence since 2000 in the Muldersdrift area, said a laptop was found at one of the scenes that night and there was speculation it belonged to Botha, and the killers dropped it when they fled.

Gauteng police spokeswoman Captain Pinky Tsinyane said no one had been arrested for Botha’s murder. She said they had increased visibility and introduced interventions in the area after the attacks.

botho.molosankwe@inl.co.za

The Star


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