Bekkersdal is on a knife edge as gang war erupts

Bekkersdal is on a knife edge as gang war erupts

Johannesburg – Bekkersdal is on a knife edge as gang violence has claimed two lives in the past five days, including that of a popular local DJ. Tony Phato – popularly known in Bekkersdal, west of Joburg, as DJ T-Lesh – was hacked to death by gangsters on Saturday.

His friend, known only as Motlalentoa, survived and is in a critical condition in hospital.

On Monday, Phato’s distraught family said he had spent his life entertaining people. “I lost a talented son,” his mother, Jane Phato, said. His killers inflicted multiple stab wounds on his body and dumped him near the Donaldson Dam.

Phato’s death was made public on Facebook, before his parents and relatives had been informed.

Phato’s grandmother Dianna Letsie recalled the moment she learnt of the DJ’s death: “I was walking in the street when I was stopped by a group of girls. One of them said to me ‘Where is Tony?’ I said ‘I do not know’. She said it is all over Facebook that Tony is dead. I did not take them seriously and walked home.”

Letsie said the group walked to Phato’s family and told them the news – spurring the entertainer’s father Sandile and other relatives to go to the local police station.

The family complained that a police officer had not treated them well. “She just told us one of them survived and I think, ‘Yes, I think his name is Tony, is dead’. She just said that,” Letsie added. They found him lying face down with stab wounds in his back.

Phato was due to release his debut album on August 26, his 21st birthday.

On the fateful day, he was collecting CDs for a youth festival on June 16, according to his grandmother and father.

Local residents said Phato’s death was a revenge attack.

The gang violence came a few weeks after service delivery violence in Bekkersdal.

Residents told The Star that there had been sporadic gang attacks in the mining town in the past two weeks…


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