Fear­ful mom chains up son

Dras­tic mea­sures to pro­tect er­rant teen

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - ASANDA SOKANYILE

A DES­PER­ATE mother of four has re­sorted to chain­ing her trou­ble­some son to a 40kg gas cylin­der to save him from vig­i­lantes.

This week, Week­end Ar­gus vis­ited the fam­ily home in the no­to­ri­ous Philippi East area of Marikana, where the boy, 15, sat on the gas tank, his right leg chained and locked to it.

His ag­o­nised mother looked at him and said she had chained him up af­ter “many” vig­i­lante at­tempts on her son’s life. “I need to save him from an­gry res­i­dents, stop him from us­ing drugs, and a life of crime.”

The boy ad­mit­ted that he and his friends reg­u­larly mugged peo­ple of their phones and hand­bags to feed their tik ad­dic­tion.

The mother, 42, and her fam­ily moved to the Marikana in­for­mal set­tle­ment in 2013 when peo­ple from var­i­ous ar­eas oc­cu­pied a plot of pri­vately owned land.

The set­tle­ment in Philippi East has been in the head­lines af­ter 11 peo­ple were shot dead there last Fri­day in what ap­pears to be a bat­tle be­tween res­i­dents and gangs.

The boy’s fam­ily moved to Marikana from an area near Khayelit­sha, hop­ing for a bet­ter life. The mother makes a liv­ing sell­ing a range of items.

“There are many peo­ple here and I knew busi­ness would boom. I never banked on los­ing my son to drugs and crime.

“I just want my son back; I have tried get­ting him into re­hab, but was turned away, so I am re­ally at my wit’s end.

“I dread the day some­one comes here to tell me my son has been killed by the com­mu­nity for hav­ing robbed some­one.”

The mother had hoped her youngest son would fol­low in the foot­steps of his three older sib­lings and fin­ish school, but in 2015, her dreams were shat­tered when she found out he had dropped out of school af­ter get­ting hooked on drugs.

“I was not aware that he was not go­ing to school. He would leave home as if he was, but I went to the school and was told he had not been go­ing to school for a while, he had dropped out.

“I was so hurt, he had dreams of be­ing a doc­tor one day. I now re­gret hav­ing brought my chil­dren to Marikana be­cause I be­lieve he would still be in school and not ad­dicted to drugs had we stayed where we were.”

The boy told Week­end Ar­gus he was ad­dicted to metham­phetamine (tik), as well as man­drax.

He con­fessed to hav­ing anger is­sues af­ter his fa­ther de­nied pa­ter­nity when he was just 6 years old.

He dropped out of school in Grade 6, but had started us­ing drugs and ex­per­i­ment­ing with ben­zine in 2015 be­fore leav­ing school.

“As time went on, I stopped go­ing to school and would hide in the bushes un­til school was over then go home, un­til I de­cided to drop out com­pletely. By then I had also started do­ing tik and man­drax,” he said.

To feed his drug habit, he and his friends would “rob peo­ple of their cell­phones, hand­bags and even sneak­ers and jack­ets”.

“There is a bridge con­nect­ing Lower Cross­roads to Man­dalay, so we would rob peo­ple on the bridge or we would go into Luzuko and rob peo­ple there, then come back, buy tik, and smoke. But every time I smoke, I want more so that is why I would rob peo­ple.”

Hav­ing given up on his dream of be­com­ing a doc­tor, the boy said he now wanted to learn car­pen­try as he was good with his hands. “I do the weld­ing and car­pen­try in the house and I love it. I can’t go back to school, it is too late for me, but I do want to quit drugs,” said the trou­bled teen.

A total of 28 peo­ple have been killed in the area over the last month. Most peo­ple now fear for their lives as they say crim­i­nals are ter­ror­is­ing them in their own homes.

Res­i­dents went on a ram­page at­tack­ing and burn­ing known crim­i­nals in a bid to rid their com­mu­nity of crime.

The res­i­dents have also formed pa­trols to scour Marikana and sec­tions of neigh­bour­ing Lower Cross­roads, and as­sault those iden­ti­fied as trou­ble mak­ers.

Po­lice con­firmed that 11 peo­ple were killed last Fri­day night; a fur­ther seven peo­ple were killed near the area, with five men beaten to death on the night of Septem­ber 26. The seven deaths were “be­lieved to be vig­i­lante mur­ders”, said the po­lice.

On Septem­ber 12, three men were burnt to death in the area. This was fol­lowed by the ston­ing of an­other sus­pected thief two days later.

A memo­rial ser­vice for the 11 peo­ple will be held on Tues­day evening in Marikana, but de­tails of the ser­vice are yet to be made avail­able.

The site is part of a 200ha patch owned by Power De­vel­op­ment Projects, H & T Prop, PJL Prop, Anica De­li­cio NO, Mario Sal­va­tore Delico NO and An­nemarie De­li­cio NO.

In April 2013, back­yarders be­gan erect­ing struc­tures on the land with the sup­port of shack dwellers’ or­gan­i­sa­tion Abahlali baseMjon­dolo, which claimed to be oc­cu­py­ing the land to “min­imise crime in the Lower Cross Roads area”.

Res­i­dents said the site had been empty land with noth­ing but rub­bish and bushes, and was only ever used by crim­i­nals in­tent on mug­ging and rape. Peo­ple also com­mit­ted sui­cide there, they claimed.

The area was named af­ter the min­ing vil­lage in the North West where 34 min­ers died fol­low­ing strike ac­tion over wages.

Res­i­dents of the Cape Town Marikana said they chose the name be­cause they were will­ing to die for the land they wished to call home.

‘I dread the day some­one comes here to tell

PIC­TURE: BHEKI RADEBE/ANA

A 15-year-old self-pro­claimed drug ad­dict from the Marikana in­for­mal set­tle­ment in Philippi has been chained to a 40kg gas cylin­der by his mother as a last re­sort to save him from vig­i­lante at­tacks.

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