Zim man tells court of xenophobic horror

A Zimbabwean on Thursday told the Durban Regional Court how foreigners were forced to jump from a high-rise building by people wielding
bush knives in January this year.

“When they forced me to jump from the fifth floor, I saw two other bodies lying motionless on the pavement. They pushed me and I landed on one of the bodies,” testified Eugene Madonda.

He was lucky to survive as Zimbabwean Victor Zowa (24) and Tanzanian Omar Said (25) fell to their deaths, he told the court.

He lost consciousness and awoke in hospital.

He was testifying in the trial of ANC eThekwini Municipality ward councillor Vusi Khoza, Sean Thabo Jacobs, Patricia Ballantyne and Mzokuthoba Mngonyama.

All except Jacobs are charged with public violence and conspiracy to commit assault. Jacobs is charged with attempted murder.

Madonda told the court he had heard a crowd of about 100 people singing “we are tired of foreigners” as they approached the building.

“They were saying they were tired of amakwekwere [foreigners].
They said they [foreigners] must be sent back to their homes and be taught a lesson,” he testified.

Amakwerekwere is a derogatory name for foreigners used by some South Africans.

Madonda thought the security guard would not allow the crowd to enter the building.

“I became very scared when I heard them kicking doors and singing inside the apartment. They also forced me to open my door.”

A short man with long hair asked him which country he came from.

“I told him that I was from Zimbabwe and that I was looking for a job in Durban. They then started beating me with knobkerries and they forced me to jump from the fifth floor,” he told the court.

They also punched him in the stomach and pulled his genitals, he said.

All four accused pleaded not guilty on Thursday, explaining that they were at their homes on the day of the incident.

In a statement read to the court, Khoza claimed he was with Ballantyne and Mngonyama at his home when the building was attacked. Jacobs, who claims to be homeless, said he was in the street where he usually slept.

The trial continues. - Sapa

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