A near diplomatic row was averted after an angry mob attacked two Namibian nationals in Cape Town last week during a search for a three-year-old boy who went missing on Monday at Hout Bay.
Over 1 000 Namibians, mostly employed as fishermen, reside at the seaside neighbourhood of Hout Bay in Cape Town.
According to media reports in that country, the two Namibians were allegedly identified after a local sangoma told angry community members he had a vision that the missing boy is being fed by neighbours, who happened to be identified as Elina Petrus and Jonas Amunyela.
The Herald Live reported on Saturday that Petrus and Amunyela from Dontse Yakhe in Hout Bay were allegedly tied by a mob and beaten for several hours, narrowly escaping having their throats slit and being burnt alive.
According to the paper, while police are yet to find a three-year-old who disappeared on Monday, a Cape Town community found their scapegoats in the two Namibians.
Their ordeal, according to the media reports, unfolded on Wednesday evening as the Hout Bay community mounted a massive search for the missing Anothando Mhlobo.
Namibian consul general in Cape Town Nicklaas Kandjii yesterday confirmed the incident to New Era. He, however, described the situation as calm at Hout Bay following his visit to the area where he addressed the Namibian community.
“The situation has been normalised after our intervention; the two Namibians are in hospital, stable indeed and we are in contact with them,” Kandjii said.
“I think the situation is under control now and all Namibians are safe. I just spoke to our police liaison officer and informed me that one community member informed him that the situation is calm.”
The two Namibians, according to the paper, were taken to the mountains above Imizamo Yethu, an informal settlement in the greater Hout Bay Valley area where they were beaten.
According to the paper, last week Friday, members of the Namibian community, who eventually saved Petrus and Amunyela, spoke to TimesLive on condition of anonymity, fearing being targeted.
One of them, a relative of Petrus, said the 29-year-old was stripped of her clothes and forced to sleep on the mountain while being periodically beaten by the female cohort of the vigilante mob.
Amunyela is believed to have lost an eye and is in hospital with a severed Achilles tendon after being beaten throughout the night by the male, half of the mob, the paper said.
“They beat her, then they brought her back to the bush with Jonas. There was a Namibian brother who said, ‘no guys, please, can’t you people go back to the sangoma; don’t burn these people – don’t beat them again’, because Jonas was badly beaten; his one eye was missing, there was water and blood coming out.”
Another witness said: “Then the Namibians said, ‘We will give you money; you must go back to the sangoma so that you can come back clearly knowing it was this person and that person.’”
- Additional reporting Heraldlive