Another ‘mad’ attack

2009-09-01 00:00

AN allegedly mentally ill man attacked three people in Pietermaritzburg’s Retief Street yesterday afternoon, including a woman who was stabbed.

It was reported that the man, suspected to be mentally ill, ran up to the 55-year-old woman as she walked with a friend and stabbed her once before running away.

Shortly afterwards, the same man hit a passer-by with a brick and later slapped another man.

Fruit vendor Khanyisile Nene said she did not see the woman being stabbed, but she did see the commotion. She saw the same man hit another man with a brick a few minutes later.

She said police and the crowds ran after the attacker, but he ducked and dived through the busy street, leaving everyone amazed.

Another woman who runs a shop in the area said she saw the running man slap another victim close to Siyazama supermarket, a few blocks away from the stabbing incident.

“He just walked up to this man and gave him one heck of a smack. If the man had not pulled out a big knife he would have probably hurt him. The go­vernment really needs to take these people away before any more deaths occur,” she said.

Yesterday’s attack comes just three weeks after the murder of Nompumelelo Ndlovu, who was bludgeoned to death in Boom Street by a disturbed man wielding an iron bar. She was seven months pregnant.

The street vendors were up in arms when The Witness visited the area yesterday. They called on the government to take action to prevent such occurrences, which they said are becoming “too frequent”, otherwise people would take the law into their own hands.

Policemen allege that officers from other towns drop mentally unstable people on the streets of the city to avoid the administrative hassle of having them admitted to hospital.

 

Nene, a vendor from kwaNxamalala, said no one is safe in the area. “We are scared for our lives.”

Since Ndlovu’s murder, she added, there have been many similar incidents.

“I personally had a confrontation with one last week. I stood up and told him I don’t trust his kind anymore because they hit people. Do you know what he said to me? He told me they no longer hit, they kill!”

Thembisile Mshengu, who said she saw the killing in Boom Street, said she was in deep distress over what she witnessed and the lack of action about the mentally ill who roam the streets.

She said the woman who was stabbed yesterday is also a vendor known as Nora.

ER24’s Derrick Banks said the 55- year-old woman refused treatment and opted to see a traditional healer instead.

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