Boarding house owner Mr Edwin Ralukukwe inspects the damage caused when the robbers attacked the business.
The boarding business fraternity and tenants who lodge with them, mostly students in the Sibasa area, are engulfed by fear and in a state of panic. This follows the cold-blooded shooting at the Ralukukwe Boarding House on Saturday, during which one person was killed.
The deceased has since been identified as Mr Mulalo Mukwevho (33), a mechanic at Netshituni Bus Service in Thohoyandou. He hails from Tshitungulwane outside Vuwani.
The incident in which Mukwevho was killed also left several students injured. The Ralukukwe Boarding House is not far from the Vhembe TVET College’s main campus at Makwarela.
A caretaker at the house, who wanted to remain anonymous, said that three men had come to the gate of the boarding house at around 01:00 on Saturday morning. They then allegedly started firing shots.
According to the caretaker, he heard noises at the gate, followed by three shots that were fired. “I ran inside the house and locked myself in. There was a big commotion outside at the other rooms, but I was helpless as I did not know what was happening,” said the caretaker.
The three men gained entry into the boarding house and looted personal belongings from several of the residents’ rooms. On their way out, they allegedly fired another shot. “We only realised that a man had been shot and killed after they [the robbers] had left,” said the caretaker.
When Limpopo Mirror arrived on the scene, several students were still busy collecting their belongings and vacating their rooms. They were traumatized and some were also limping from the injuries that they had sustained during the attack.
The owner of the establishment, Mr Edwin Ralukukwe, said he was in shock. He confirmed that the damages totalled close to R70 000. This is apart from the business he is losing, as many of his clients have sought shelter elsewhere out of fear for their lives.
“We are very much in shock and we feel pity for the innocent students who had to go through this shocking ordeal. The loss is huge, but we cannot compare it to the life that was lost here. We send our heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased and our prayer is that God be their shelter in this difficult time. With us here, we will pick up the pieces and see how we can improve the security here.” He added that the incident happened at a time when they were busy planning for upgrading the security at the complex.
One of the students, who preferred anonymity, said she had never been so scared. “Just imagine the barrel of the gun right in front of your eyes. I could see death right there, but God protected us from the thugs. As for now, we are leaving this place; we are not safe here,” she said, carrying her bags and leaving the area.
Thohoyandou Police spokesperson Capt Takalani Malogwe confirmed that cases of robbery and murder have been opened and that investigations are continuing.
“We have not made any arrest so far, and we are making an appeal to anyone who has information concerning the incident to please contact the nearest police station. All information will be treated in the strictest confidence,” said Malogwa.
Date:26 February 2017 - By: Elmon Tshikhudo
Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and has since been a familiar name among the newspaper's readers.