Mthokozisi Mthembu, 31, who lived in KwaDabeka, near Pinetown, had been at his home in Umzinto on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast when he disappeared after a clash between two feuding communities during the festive season.
According to his father, Godukani Raphael Mthembu, his son and friends attended a family function at Odidini, the area of their rivals.
They had expected clashes since the Mthembu family was from the rival side in Bhadane, but he never expected there would be a life lost.
“The boys were attacked some sustained serious injuries as they were attacked with sjamboks and pangas. They all ran in different directions. When they all regrouped on a nearby road, a taxi approached and they stopped it.”
Their attackers had gained on them and were approaching as they climbed into the taxi, and that was when his son disappeared.
“This was December 29. The following day we went to search around the area he was last seen alive. We walked into a dense bushy area which leads to a river and we found his pants,” he said.
Mthembu said police sniffer dogs lost his son’s scent near the river.
“There have been meetings without traditional leaders on our side along with the community. There have also been meetings in Odidini, which I have never been to. No one is talking. I just want to bury my son. I have accepted that I will no longer find him alive. I just want to lay him to rest,” he said.
Dumisane Zwane, traditional leader from the Odidini side, said if people from his area were responsible for Mthembu’s disappearance, they should be held accountable. “If it is my people who killed him, they need to be arrested and tell us where his body is.”
Zwane said it was hoped that leads would emerge from a meeting being held at the chief’s house this weekend.
“This will be the first time that the boy’s father will be coming this side for a meeting, and we hope that the community speaks out.”
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said a missing person’s docket was being investigated by Sawoti SAPS. “The missing person is still being sought. We appeal to anyone with information to contact Sawoti police on 0399719020 or Crime Stop on 086 001 0111.”