Two people were killed and seven injured, allegedly by eThekwini Municipality security guards, on Saturday in a fight over electricity.
At about 9am on Saturday a stand-off took place between city officials and residents at the New Germany informal settlement in Reservoir Hills when officials disconnected cables drawing electricity from nearby schools and garages to the informal settlement.
Relatives of Malizo Fakaza and Nhlanhla Mkhize, the men who were killed, are now demanding that the city accept responsibility for their deaths.
Fakaza, who lived in the Kennedy Road informal settlement, was visiting his cousin, Mbali Mdlozini.
He was shot in the head.
“It hurts because they didn’t have to kill him. If he was wrong, then they should have arrested him. They just shoot at people and kill them,” said Mdlalose.
“It is so unfair that we must live like this. Why can’t we have electricity like everyone in South Africa? We are not animals. We want to have electricity like everyone else,” said Mdlalose, who was shaken by the incident and demanded that the city be held accountable for Fakaza’s death.
Busisiwe Khawula said her partner, Mkhize, the other victim, was washing his takkies outside their home while she was inside.
“The next thing someone knocked on my door to tell me that he was shot. I went to the vehicle where he was and he lay still, his head slumped to the left of the ambulance door,” said Khawula.
Khawula said she had not had electricity since moving to the informal settlement 15 years ago.
“I use a candle every day and if I don’t have R3 for a candle, I don’t have light in the room. People lost their lives over the electricity problem. The municipality must answer for his death.”
Mkhize died when he was shot twice in the chest.
The head of eThekwini Electricity, Sandile Maphumulo, who was at the scene, said, “There is nothing I can do about the act until I have all of the facts. Illegal connections are a hazard to the community.”
Ward 23 councillor Themba Mtshali pleaded with the community not to politicise the incident. “Only politicians fight, we mustn’t fight with each other. They told us we shouldn’t connect the electricity for the next five days, until the matter is sorted out.”
SAPS spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker said the police arrested nine security guards, who had been charged with murder and attempted murder.
“Nine people were shot, two died and seven were injured when security guards fired live ammunition at them. We arrested the guards and ceased their firearms.”
The guards had accompanied staff removing illegal connections.