TSHIVHILWI villagers in Venda, Limpopo, are up in arms.
They are demanding justice for community police forum (CPF) members who were given life sentences for murder.
The nine CPF members were sentenced by the Thohoyandou High Court on 1 February for charges relating to the kidnapping and killing of Vhonani Sibara and Thanziela Mailanombe on 24 February 2014. Two other accused, Livhuwani Khohomela and Patrick Mathaulula, died before the trial. However, the villagers are demanding the release of the CPF members, insisting they were not involved in the assault of the deceased with sjamboks and horse pipes.
The deceased were allegedly caught stealing from a house in the village.
The villagers said they were also disappointed their leader Chief Muonyolosi Tshivhase had distanced himself from helping them to raise funds to launch an appeal.
Alugumi Mudzanani, the wife of Joko Mudzanani who is serving life in Matatshe Prison, said the culprits who assaulted the thugs were roaming around the village while their husbands were rotting in jail.
“The CPF members didn’t commit the murder.”
She said they only took the injured thug to the chief, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Ndivhuho Mutshekwa, chairman of a committee elected by the concerned villagers, revealed they were battling to raise R300 000 for the appeal as other community members were not interested in helping unless they were told by the chief to do so.
“We want to pay the lawyer’s appearance and transcript from 2014 until 2022. We have raised less than R100 000 so far and the youth are the ones who are helping. The elderly are refusing to pay saying the chief didn’t approve. It’s sad that the chief has now distanced himself from this issue,” said Mutshekwa.
Chief Muonyolosi said: “Those who took the issue to the media and want my comment should come to Musanda. They should have discussed this matter with me instead of going to the media.”