Authors: Casey Christie
His immediate superiors knew that he was not guilty of any of the charges and all his shootings had been lawful and righteous and that the assault cases were opened up against him by criminals intent on revenge or having their own legitimate charges dropped. Sergeant Night knew that a lot of his superiors didn’t like him. They didn’t like his reputation and notoriety and they certainly didn’t like his friendship with perhaps the most powerful police officer in Johannesburg and arguably South Africa. General Arosi couldn’t help with the Sergeant’s promotion and had formally recused himself from the promotions board dealing with all of Norwood’s advancements. To compound things it certainly didn’t help that he was a white man. Most importantly, though, it didn’t matter to Michael Night. He wasn’t in it for the rank and didn’t plan on being a lifer in the force anyway.
“One last round Mike.”
“My hypothesis is this Mike. I believe uSathane carried out the bank job in an attempt to somehow get to you and your men. The way I see it is that there are two mighty rulers battling for Control of the streets of Norwood. The Sheriff - you - and your men. And the Mafia Boss if you like, uSathane, and his men.”
“Me General, little old me, causing problems for the Devil himself?”
“Ha-ha, absolutely. I have told you previously of our monthly crime intelligence reports at Provincial HQ. You and your men have been directly responsible in one way or another for the reduction of 35% of all reported incidents of violent crime in the Norwood precinct. And more specifically a 60% drop in the success rate of bank robberies, hijackings and ATM explosions. Basically if uSathane was a businessman you have been dramatically messing with his bottom line and profit margins.”
“Yes good, but for this reason we must not react to today’s happenings but rather consider our position on the board. And carefully consider our next move.”
“Okay commander what do you want me to do? My best friend’s little brother is dead, his arms and legs cut off. I know who the man responsible is and that man also threatened to kill me.”
“What would you normally do?”
“March into Alexander Township and kill the bastard and all who serve him.”
“Exactly. I rest my case. That is what he would expect you to do and that is why you must do nothing. It will put all the power back in our court. By doing nothing immediately we will regain Control of the chess board and confuse our enemy.”
“So what, then?”
“Well it will take Daniel at least a week to see to his brother’s funeral and follow all tribal rituals. So in the meantime go fishing. Take that lovely girl Lisa and go to the Vaal River for a couple of days. You can stay at a little time share I have down there. Then when you come back I have some Close Protection work for you - Looking after a client of mine while she attends two days in court. And finally I have some new recruits that need some on-the-street training. That should keep you busy and your mind nice and occupied until I formulate our response and gather more vital intelligence.”
“Okay General. I will follow your plan. Thank you Amos.”
“My pleasure. Now let’s finish these drinks and I’ll have Tony drop you off at home.”
Colonel Sifisu Sibanda of the ZNA sat in an old black leather lounge chair, presumably taken off a rubbish dump, surrounded by his henchmen. They were located at the most southern point of Alexandra Township, within the Colonel’s shanty town network of shacks – these shacks were little more than thin pieces of corrugated iron roofs held together by patchworks of sticks of wood, broken bricks and whatever other fabric or material could be used to piece together some sort of protection from the elements. Common co-habitants of the residents of Alexandra Township were large, dirty, disease-ridden rats the size of cats --the ones most people have nightmares about. Raw sewage ran freely between, underneath and in some cases well within a lot of these hovels.
Alexandra was originally established in 1912 and proclaimed as a so-called "native township." Because the township was declared prior to the South African 1912 Land Act, it was one of the few urban areas in the country where black people could own land under a freehold title. By 1916 the population of Alexandra had grown to 30,000 and thus the Alexandra Health Committee was established to manage the township. However, the Committee was not allowed to collect local taxes, nor was the Johannesburg City Council willing to take responsibility for an area that it claimed fell outside its jurisdiction, leading to a lack of resources and proper management. The township is situated on the banks of the Jukskei River and covers an area of more than 8 km² and now has an estimated population of over 470,000 people crammed together, living in the most awful conditions imaginable and without proper sewerage systems or electricity.
The Colonel had established a stronghold here, linking a network of these shacks. Some of the dwellings housed his gang members, others housed weapons and ammunition and stolen goods and cash but the majority contained innocent civilians he used as human shields. He had one of his many “wives” run a soup kitchen on the one side of his personal quarters and had a dozen or so orphans sleep in the interconnected shack atop his own personal quarters -- dug one level underground - only a few feet away from where he sat now. He didn’t need high walls, sophisticated security systems or guard dogs to protect him from the South African authorities and law enforcement agencies. Rather he chose to surround himself with unknowing human protectors, shields who would make a raid on his lair very difficult for the South African Police or South African Army. His shack, which was underground, was seated at the foot of an old mine dump. He placed a number of his men on top of it each night to keep watch with their AK47s and RPGs.
His bunker was almost perfect. For ten years he had led his criminal gang mainly made up of Zim soldiers. They robbed banks, cash in transit vehicles, blew up ATMs and committed house and business robberies and only twice had the authorities attempted to apprehend him in his dwelling place. The first time they tried was about nine years ago when the Colonel had just started his criminal empire. They had come with a huge force of police officers gathered from all over Johannesburg. The firefight lasted several hours and he had been wounded in the attack but after the police unintentionally inflicted too many civilian casualties they had to pull back.
The next raid was to take place four years later and only happened because one of his house robbery victims happened to be a powerful member of the new ruling party. This time there was a joint operation between the South African Army and Police Force. The attacking force was huge and included helicopters and heavy armoured vehicles but the authorities had made one massive miscalculation – in the years that uSathane was ruling his criminal realm in Alexandra he had won the hearts and minds of the poorest Alexandra residents. Like any good politician he knew that his survival depended on the support of the masses. He gained favour by handing out cash, he bought school clothes for the children and gave them sweets, he ran a cheap shebeen that sold liquor to the residents at cost, sometimes losing money. He opened a soup kitchen and gave shelter to orphaned children. He did none of these things for charitable reasons but rather for his own personal safety and gain. Nonetheless, the majority of the Alexandra residents protected him and revered him.
So when the Army and Police swooped, the residents came out and fought back. What ensued was an absolute blood bath. Dozens of policemen and women were either killed or injured. Seven soldiers lost their lives but more than 300 Alexandra residents were killed that day, most of them by uSathane and his men – in a successful attempt to pin the deaths on friendly fire from the police. It was a disaster for the Police and the Army and a PR nightmare for the new government.
After that gruesome day the Minister for Safety and Security ordered the Generals of both the police force and army to never attempt to apprehend uSathane on Alexandra Township soil again. If they wanted to arrest him they would have to do it somewhere else. The hope was that they could arrest or kill him on a job, on the streets of Johannesburg. uSathane had informants all over Gauteng and in high governmental places and he soon got word of the new order. Since that day he never accompanied his men on jobs and hardly ever left his compound.
That was until earlier today.
The sound of a traditional Zimbabwean Ngoma drum throbbed hypnotically through the air – the male drummer semi-naked and seemingly in a deep trance. A Shona female Witchdoctor in full attire was at uSathane’s feet. The smell and smoke of dagga (marijuana) hung heavily in the air.
uSathane was a stick-thin man, nothing more than bones and flesh. He had been diagnosed with HIV seven years earlier. By the look of him he now had full blown AIDS. Many of his men and the people who had known him had thought he should be long dead by now and the fact that he was still alive only added to the mystery and supposed supernatural power of Colonel Sifisu Sibanda of the Zimbabwe National Army and crime lord of Alexandra Township. His face was full of tattoos, prison tats each with its own meaning – devil horns on his forehead, fangs under his lips to signify that he bites and a spider’s web centred on his nose, spreading out across his face showing that he will wait patiently for his prey and a scar ran straight across his mouth from left to right. His teeth were deformed. He had purposely taken a chisel to his teeth some years back and had carved them into canine looking pointed dentures. Disturbingly, he was also a semi-skilled military tactician. He was trained as an officer in the art of war by the Soviet Union in Zimbabwe.
He believed he was still alive because of the work of the Shona Witchdoctor now at his feet and the muti (medicine) and advice she provided.
The witchdoctor believed he was still alive because he was the Devil.
The sound of the mesmerising drum suddenly stopped and the dagga mist cleared.
The Witchdoctor spoke to him in his native tongue of Shona:
“You must eat more women now uSathane, the police men want kill you, you must take two women now each month. One for the diseases and one for increase power of your muti.”
“And what do the ancestors tell you, what do the bones say?” he replied.
The Witchdoctor threw the bones onto the animal skin at uSathane’s feet.
Her head started to gyrate, her eyes went pitch black and then she spoke in a demonic voice.
“Your enemies are strong. You killed the brother of one of these warriors and he will seek to destroy you. They plan their attack and will come for you. Be warned these men are unlike any you have fought before. Their light is strong. You will not succeed if you do not leave this land and return to your own, to our land, to your ancestors’ land but you must kill these men, these warriors first.”
The Witchdoctor fell silent and slumped to the floor.
uSathane was annoyed now and jumped out of his chair, kicked the Witchdoctor out of the way and commanded his men to bring his new woman to him in his room. He needed to eat.
uSathane’s right hand man, Jabulani, brought in a bound and gagged woman. Her hands were tied with electrical cord. She was wearing a typical South African domestic worker’s blue uniform.
“We got this bitch in the suburbs working for the whites. We tortured and killed the family and brought her for you Colonel.”
“Where is the other one, I need two now, didn’t you hear the Sangoma, I need two now, every month.”
“I will go out now with the boys Colonel and get one for you.”
“No, you must stay here and set up the guards for when the policemen come. Have you forgotten already you stupid dog!”
“No Colonel but I thought you needed to eat, to eat another one.”
“I will. I will eat again tomorrow. But for now we must prepare for when those pigs attack. They are going to come tonight. Have you set up the explosives?”
“Yes Colonel, they are at the entrances to all the main roads coming in to Alex. We have also placed one at the hospital, the library and the community centre. As you said master.”
“Good boy. Are the shooters on the top of the mine dump and the RPGs on the roofs for the helicopters that they will bring?”
“Go then and wait outside until I am finished then you take this bitch dog for the men and enjoy.” said uSathane while he spat on the woman lying at his feet.
uSathane sat down on his bed and thought about his plan. Sergeant Night and his men, these so called Black Bastards, had been seriously messing with his profit. As a result his master back home was breathing down his neck and was no longer sending good men and ammunition from the ZNA.
He had devised this plan to coincide with him leaving South Africa for good once he had collected wealth beyond his imagination. But before he left he would kill these policemen. That was the reason he went with his men to the bank -- that was why he had tortured and mutilated the Metro officers; at the time he hadn’t known that one of the officers was a brother to the giant cop known as Zulu, this was an added bonus.
He wanted the police to seek retribution for the bank job and he fully expected them to raid tonight or over the weekend. He had his men set up dynamite explosives, stolen from South African gold mines, all around the township and he would detonate them once they arrived in the hope of killing innocent civilians and then triggering riots within the township. Causing the people of Alexandra to hate the police and blame them for the death and destruction. And love the great uSathane.
The domestic worker lay sobbing on the floor in front of him.
He took out his rusty Panga and lit the small kerosene stove on the floor. Then he got up to fetch his favourite 24-carat gold goblet, a memento of a house robbery at a mining magnate’s palace.
uSathane sliced the woman’s jugular vein and her sobs became gurgles. He held the gold goblet to catch the spurts of hot blood and drank greedily. As her heart began to fail the flow of blood diminished and uSathane turned his attention to her meat. He took his machete and sliced off long slivers of flesh. He held them briefly over the open flame of the stove until they were slightly charred and then he rapidly chewed, fragments of flesh falling from the gaps between his chiselled teeth and mixing with the blood still dripping from his mouth.