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At 3 a.m. Monday morning, the homestead of Danca in Mtentu village, Xolobeni woke up to a barrage of gun shots. A police car with uniformed police was arriving.

On Monday afternoon, we knew they were from SAPS in Port Shepstone. What effectively turned out to be a SAPS assault party had been driving 2.5 hours to reach Mtentu, close to the Mkhambathi nature reserve.

Damage caused by police on a raid of a home in Danca Village. Pics: Amadiba Crisis Committee

The Mpisi station is 20 minutes away from this homestead. Mpisi SC Cpt Jukudu says he was not informed by the raid.

Twelve family members ran in panic when the shooting started. In the confusion, a disabled child was even left behind. The girl was first interrogated by the police, asking about dagga and the whereabouts of the others.

The officers started walking around in the homestead, whilst continuing to fire shots. Doors, windows and furniture in 8 houses were destroyed. A cell phone was smashed. R900 was stolen. The homestead was completely trashed. Community members could watch the SAPS officers picking up empty cartridges before they left, obviously trying to hide the shooting.

The homestead is destroyed. The Danca family are now sleeping at neighbours. Today, they will go to Mpisi and open a case against the SAPS assailants.

“This attack was typically instigated by the Mbizana mining lobby”, says Nonhle Mbuthuma. “It has started again. We are now in danger.”

“If police are looking for dagga, we have no problem. But to vandalise our homesteads, fire shots and steal: this is the behaviour of the old apartheid police. There were no difference between these SAPS officers and gangsters.”

“We suspect a special relation between this group at the Port Shepstone SAPS and the Mbizana mining lobby”.

The large Danca family are long standing members of the ACC and have elders in the Headwoman’s council.