File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - The traditional leader of the Tembe clan which is found in the top right corner of northern KZN and southern Mozambique, is appealing for calm in the area after emotions ran high when South African troops opened fire on the border line and killed two Mozambican police officers.  

So high are emotions is that since the shooting incident, locals says South African army personnel and military police are keeping a distance from the border in order to avoid tensions that may lead to retaliation from the army of Mozambique.

Speaking to Independent Media on Wednesday, Inkosi Mabhudu Tembe, assured his clan and all the people living along the porous borderline that the ongoing investigations by the governments of the two sister countries will reveal what really led to the Sunday afternoon fatal shooting. He added that there would soon be a peaceful solution to the matter.

"The shooting incident is very saddening because we have never had one like this in the past. If you look closely, you can tell that the shooting doesn't signal that there political tensions between us and Mozambique... The truth is that we are one community that is only divided by a boundary line and there is no dispute that can lead to killings and we are very sad that this happened," Tembe lamented.

Tembe who three years ago spearheaded the formation of a local committee to deal with crime in the area, lamented that the shooting incident happened at a time when there were efforts to curb the divisive issue of stolen South African vehicles smuggled to Mozambique by a syndicate allegedly involving local criminals who are working with Mozambican dealers.

"This shooting comes at a time when we are still working on completely eradicating the problem of stealing and smuggling of South African vehicles to Mozambique. Yes there are vehicles that were stolen and smuggled over the long weekend, but the bigger scale of the scourge has been dealt with and our people must rest assured that we will eventually end the crime," he said.

It was not clear what the Mozambican police officers were doing along the borderline as the Mozambican side of the border is manned by the army while the South African side is manned by military police. Beside the smuggling of stolen vehicles, the border line near the area is also known to be used by smugglers to smuggle contraband and it is also used for human trafficking.

Political Bureau