Residents in fear as street lights fail

Memories of serial killer haunt Butterworth village

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Photo of street light
Residents of Tholeni Village fear an outbreak of crime after street lights failed a month ago. Photo: Mbulelo Sisulu

High mast lights in Tholeni Village have been off for a month now, to the distress of residents of this Butterworth village where a serial killer claimed 20 lives a few years ago.

In the villages around former Transkei it is very rare to see high mast lights but these lights were installed in Tholeni after a serial killer terrorised the village, killing people during the night. Bulelani Mabhayi was sentenced in September 2013 to 25 life sentences after pleading guilty to 20 murders, six rapes and ten incidents of house-breaking.

The same year, the Mnquma Local Municipality and Amathole District Municipality decided to install three electric lights at Tholeni Village. But now residents are in fear again because the lights went off almost a month ago.

Mandlenkosi Mandondo said: “People were killed at night in this village. Then the government helped us with these lights. Now we are very scared because they went off. Yes, the guy who killed people was sentenced and he is in prison, but some residents are saying this guy was not alone. We fear that people working with him might come and kill while the lights are off.”

“We ask government to fix these lights very fast, because we do not want to experience those bad things again,” he said.

Councillor Nokhrismesi Monakali told GroundUp that two of three lights were not working and he had reported the problem to Eskom, where he had been told part of the lights had been stolen. “Eskom wants the municipality to pay first so that the lights can be fixed. I reported this matter to the municipality,” she said.

Mnquma Local Municipality spokesperson Loyiso Mpalantshane said the municipality would attend to the problem “as a matter of extreme urgency”.

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TOPICS:  Crime Government

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