Mayor under fire

2013-07-23 00:00

THE early morning quiet of the rural town of Richmond was shattered by the burst of gunfire yesterday. It’s a sound the town’s mayor Andrew Ragavaloo knows well. In the 1990s Richmond was known as KZN’s killing fields.

Five shots were fired at Ragavaloo’s house at about 1.20 am yesterday while the family were all asleep. One of the bullets went through the dining room window and hit the wall directly behind where he works at his computer.

Ragavaloo, the author of Richmond: Living in the Shadow of Death, is not sure if he can stomach the violence again. “I cannot risk my family, who went through all of this in the 1990s,” he told The Witness.

The mayor lost three family members and five close comrades during the Richmond unrest of 1997 to 1999, which saw more than 100 people killed in the town.

He does not exclude factions within his own party, the ANC, who may want him and certain other councillors out.

He said violence because of power struggles was making a mockery of families who sacrificed — and those who died — for peace and democracy.

Richmond residents who spoke to The Witness have linked the shooting to a community meeting that took place in Indaleni Junction on Sunday afternoon. They said the meeting was supposed to be a report-­back on a taxi fare protest march that took place a week ago.

However, at the meeting threats were allegedly made against Raga­valoo, council speaker Thulani Shabalala and councillor Douglas Kunene. People stood up in the meeting and claimed they were corrupt and that they wanted them out within seven days, a resident said.

Alpha Shelembe, the chairperson of the ANC’s Moses Mabhida region, who was at the meeting, said it was a public meeting to discuss the taxi protest. He said some members of the public who were at the meeting wanted the mayor and the councillors out. “Communities at public meetings choose to air all their grievances and they were reminded that the meeting was to discuss the taxi fare increases,” he said.

Shelembe said he and other REC members visited Ragavaloo yesterday. They had also pleaded with the police to root out criminal elements within the community right away. ANC structures in the town were also committed to working with the community to calm down the situation, he said.

Chairperson of the Richmond ANC sub-region, Msizi Mkhize, said he did not believe there was any link between the meeting and the shooting at the mayor’s house. He said the issue of the taxi fare increases was about to be resolved and he felt the situation in the town would calm down.

SA Police Services spokesperson Joey Jeevan said that Richmond detectives were investigating a case of attempted murder and malicious damage to property.

She said there were no injuries and no arrests have been made yet.

Investigations are continuing.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.