Village grappling with bloodshed to install street lights

The Emalahleni Local Municipality Mayor Notombizanele Koni announcing the news that they will be installing lights that will illuminate Ezingqolweni. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

Elderly people living alone in their homes, some of whom had young grandchildren, have been killed frequently in the previous two years in the Ezingqolweni area of Ward 17 under the Emalahleni Local Municipality. Now, R7 million has been set aside for the installation of street lights. This village will be illuminated at night by these lights in an effort to deter such instances of public violence.

Nontombizanele Koni, the mayor of Emalahleni, stated that they submitted an application to the Premier’s Office after seeing the horrific killings of residents. The incidents, according to Koni, take place at night, and they think that having these lights on all night will make a difference.

Koni was speaking with the villagers of Ezingqolweni in Lady Frere last week when they went to notify them about the contractor who will install these lights in the village.

“Six lights will be installed with this R7 million, but only R5.3 million will be spent. The money that will be left will not be returned; instead, it will be used to support local initiatives that assist women, who frequently become the targets of homicide.

“We will ask the residents what the money can do to improve the lives of women in Ezingqolweni. This is an effort to prevent the tragedy that occurred here from happening again,” Koni stated.

Between December 2020 and July 2021, 11 elderly people in Ezingqolweni between the ages of 88 and below were murdered. The victims were hacked with a knife and a bush knife, some of their heads were decapitated, and they were killed during their SASSA grant week.

Six suspects have been arrested by Eastern Cape police in connection with the attack and deaths of the victims. The accused remain in custody.

According to Luthando Nqumkana, the Emalahleni spokesperson, the installation of these lights would take roughly six months to complete and will begin after Easter.

Nqumkana stated that work opportunities will be established for the Ezingqolweni community, both those with and without skills. According to Nqumkana, women benefit the most from this opportunity because they are the most affected.

The victims who were killed are: Mthekana Mpoqane (88), Nosinothi Sibozo (81), Nowezile Khuphiso (81), Nowezile Mbovane (78), Nodyebo Gingqini (75), Jongumthetho Dayimani (71), Nowezile Yawa (68), Nozaziyedwa Nontyida (68), Nokhesini Punguphungu (67), Mthuthuzeli Mfinyongo (66), and Gcobile Fihla (50).