The attack on friends Claude Mazuruza and Alex Musambya, both 30 and from Democratic Republic of Congo, allegedly by members of the Adams Mission community, has left their friends and families in pain and asking questions.
Among these are why the police allegedly did not respond when alerted that the men were being attacked, and why they were killed in such a brutal manner.
Daniel Dunia, of the African Solidarity Network and who has been following the matter closely, said the men had gone to the Adams Mission area to fix a fridge. How the events unfolded and what led to their deaths was still a mystery.
Dunia said the men’s families had become worried when they failed to return from their trip, and started to look for them around the city.
When they went to a police station in KwaMakhutha they heard that two people had been beaten and burned by the community.
Musambya’s sister, who would not be named, said the family was confused as to why her brother had been killed. She said the lack of information meant they lived in constant fear of further attacks.
Dunia said this was not the first time the men had encountered violence during their stay in South Africa. He said the two men had gone to a camp in Isipingo when they fled xenophobic violence that erupted in the city in 2015.
Dunia said a stakeholders’ meeting was required where people could discuss how best to deal with violence against foreigners. It should not just be a talk shop, but should have positive outcomes for concrete action to be taken.
Dunia feared that escalating violence against foreigners was a real possibility before next year’s elections. He said police were trying to find out what happened at Adams Mission, but the community was being unco-operative.
Dunia described Mazuruza, whose profession was repairing fridges, as being quiet and respectful.
He said this year there had been reports of attacks on foreigners in Inanda, KwaMashu and Ntuzuma, where their tuckshops had been looted and burned. The owners had been attacked by people from local business forums.
In uMlazi, some refugees were being threatened with violence by an unknown armed group of people who demanded R200 from them.
Vanessa Burger, a human rights activist who has been advocating for an investigation into Mazuruza and Musambya’s deaths, said she was concerned the police were downplaying the incident.
“What is being done to protect other refugees in the community? I’ve had no response from the provincial commissioner. Instead of addressing the underlying causes, the government remains intent on sweeping these issues under the carpet in the hope they’ll go away. They won’t. They’ll just get worse.”
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said a case had been opened at KwaMakhutha police station.
She was surprised by the allegations that the police had been tardy in responding to the attack. She said they responded immediately when made aware of the incident.