Councillor’s home targeted

2010-06-25 00:00

FORCES opposed to the construction of the Edendale Mall in ward 22 are suspected of being behind the petrol-bomb attack on the home of ANC councillor Patrick Jaca in Machibisa on Wednesday morning.

Residents have accused Jaca of intimidation tactics in retaliation for service delivery protests in his ward.

Following the attack, the police placed Jaca’s home under 24-hour guard. No one was injured during the attack, but two windows were destroyed.

Jaca’s wife, Thembisile (51), who was also present during the attack, said that since her husband had initiated the construction of the Edendale Mall last year, the family have received countless threats from people opposed to the development.

Describing Wednesday’s attack, she said: “I was asleep at about 1.45 am when I heard some noise and saw a ball of fire near the window of our bedroom.

“I screamed and woke up ubaba who was fast asleep. Everybody in the house woke up and we fetched water using buckets to put out the fire. We later discovered that another petrol-bomb was thrown through the window where my son was sleeping, but fortunately it did not detonate.”

It was not the first time the Jacas’ home has come under attack.

“In June last year, a march was organised against the councillor by the people opposing development in the area.

“Tyres were burnt and insults and threats made against my husband. After that march our house windows were stoned, but no one was injured,” she said.

Councillor Jaca said residents who oppose the construction of the Edendale Mall will fail “because come rain or sunshine, the mall will be constructed”.

The construction of the mall is expected to create about 800 job opportunities for local people.

He would not be drawn to comment on whether the opposition to the mall construction and the attack on his home are linked to reported infighting within the ANC in the Msunduzi Municipality.

He believes a clique led by a suspected drug-dealer from the Motha area of Machibisa are the main suspects.

Meanwhile, residents yesterday alleged that Jaca, accompanied by councillors from Ashdown, Caluza, kwaPata and Dambuza, raided houses in the area with a group of unknown men, searching for certain individuals believed to be involved in the bomb incident.

Snothi Thikazi was one of the targeted people. He alleged Jaca had pointed a firearm at his head.

“I heard a commotion at my front door and as I opened to investigate, men armed with guns were in my yard. About 15 vehicles lined the street. Jaca pointed a gun to my head, saying I should not be left alive. I managed to slam the door, making my escape through the back door. Gun shots rang out as I ran for dear life,” said Thikazi.

He and another resident whose house was also raided laid charges with Plessislaer police yesterday.

Residents said the intimidation resulted from service delivery protests against Jaca, and that the councillor is causing instability in the area by bringing outsiders to fight his battles.

“We don’t want to fight, but if it is brought to us, then we will accept it and there will be a heavy price to pay.

“If we retaliate, the s**t will hit the fan and if the police fail to act on Jaca and think they will act on us, they must forget it,” said an ­angry resident.

Jaca declined to comment on the allegations against him. “I can only comment on the petrol bomb that was thrown into my house.”

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane confirmed that the Jaca home is under 24-hour police guard.

“A case of malicious damage to property was opened and police are still investigating. No arrests had been made so far,” Zwane said.

He also confirmed that a case of firearm discharge was opened and that all the allegations will be investigated.

At the time of going to print, the regional secretary of the ANC in the Moses Mabhida region, Super Zuma, could not be reached to comment on the situation in the area.

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