Port Elizabeth—One person died and many were injured after “vigilantes” hammered shut the doors of a house in Sewendelaan in Booysen Park, before setting it alight in a shocking and apparently racially-motivated incident on Saturday night.
At the time there were 15 people inside the house, among them several teenagers. According to the police they were having a party when the alleged gang attacked.
“Everybody started screaming in panic, but I opened the windows and tried to help most of them through the window,” said Justin Filander, 22, on Tuesday. He was also inside the house.
“As I helped them out, the attackers threw them back into the burning house through the other windows. Those who managed to get out were attacked with knives and pangas.”
Filander was stabbed several times and was discharged from Livingstone Hospital on Tuesday.
Racial tension between black, coloured residents
Senomia Fourie, mother of Iwaan Fourie, 17, who was still recovering in Merchantile Hospital, said her son had 22 knife wounds to his head and legs, as well as serious burn wounds.
His 14-year-old friend, Ettienne Carelse, was also injured during the fire and had several stab wounds. The whole group was treated for lesser and more serious injuries.
According to members of the community who wanted to remain anonymous, the attack seemed to have been racially motivated. It was apparently related to racial tension between black and coloured residents of Sewendelaan (also known as Nceba Faku Village) about the ownership of RDP homes in the area.
According to the community, the “corrupt” selling of RDP homes increased the tension. Trevor Louw, council member for the ward and member of the standing committee on housing and land, described the group responsible for Saturday’s attack as one of many who had formed because of the racial tension and who had taken the law into their own hands to investigate the situation.
No motive established
Police spokesperson captain Ernest Sigobe said the attack was being investigated. Although the police had not yet been able to establish a motive for the attack, it was suspected that it had been about a house.
“It is not easy to find out what had sparked the attack, but we are investigating,” he said.
Nobody was arrested. By late on Tuesday police had not yet confirmed the name of the deceased.