Ntombela in the firing line

2009-04-12 00:00

SHOTS were fired at the home of veteran IFP leader David Ntombela in Elandskop at the weekend — and the IFP has accused ANC members of trying to intimidate their members.

But the ANC said IFP members were the first to fire and that they also assaulted ANC members later.

The shots were fired as the 84-year-old former member of the KZN Legislature was preparing to go to a funeral on Saturday.

ANC provincial chairman Dr Zweli Mkhize visited Ntombela afterwards, and the two parties have agreed to sit down and discuss the incident.

“A group of ANC people, among whom I recognised an employee of the Msunduzi Municipality, came to my house at 11 am, created a disturbance and shot at me,” Ntombela said in a statement.

The IFP stalwart’s son, Thinasonke Ntombela, who is a ward councillor in the Msunduzi Municipality, said his father was not hurt in the shooting, which occurred as they stood at the garden gate. He alleged that the gunshots were fired by members of the ANC who were taking part in electioneering car cavalcade.

“As the motorcade approached my father’s house, some of the ANC members, who were carrying guns, started shouting insults at my father and next thing gunshots were fired,” said Thinasonke.

He alleged that ANC members yelled profanities at his father, calling him old and insulting him about his health, and also shouted insults about IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

Ntombela recently suffered a heart attack and resigned from the Legislature last month because of his ailing health.

ANC members told The Witness yesterday that they were “brutally” attacked by IFP members two hours after the motorcade passed through. Sandile Zaca and another member of the ruling party, whose name is known to The Witness, were admitted to Edendale and Northdale hospitals respectively, apparently after being attacked by the IFP.

Zaca alleged that Patrick Bhengu, IFP member of the executive committee in the Umgungundlovu District Municipality, led the attack on him. “He [Bhengu] was asking us what we were doing at Ntombela’s house. Bystanders were ululating and whistling as IFP people hit us with hammers, trying to stab us, while they kicked and punched us. We managed to escape the onslaught,” said Zaca.

But Bhengu denied the claims and accused Zaca and any ANC members who claimed to have been beaten by him of lying.

ANC provincial secretary Senzo Mchunu said that according to ANC members who were in the cavalcade, the IFP fired first. He said his party condemns any firing of gunshots.

He confirmed that discussions between the ANC and IFP about the incident have been set up. “We will leave the investigation of who fired the shots in the hands of the police,” said Mchunu.

Police spokesman Superintendent Henry Budhram said an alleged ANC motorcade stopped outside Ntombela’s house and a person in the motorcade allegedly threw an object into the yard and an altercation ensued between people in the motorcade and the Ntombela family.

He said during the argument several shots were fired in the air, allegedly by a person from the motorcade.

“No one was injured during the shooting,” he said. Three 9 mm cartridges were found by the police at the scene and a case of discharging a firearm is being investigated. “All the cases opened, relating to the incident, are being investigated,” said Budhram.

The IFP said it will report the incident to the IEC today when the party is due to meet with representatives from the electoral commission.

thandom@witness.co.za

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