“This man had a problem.”

2012-04-28 00:00

WHY did father of one and teacher of 13 years Bongani Shange snap?

Sbonelo Shange suspects his younger brother’s bizarre behaviour was triggered by financial woes.

“This man had a problem.”

Sbonelo said his brother had lived with bipolar disorder for many years and he experienced good and bad days.

Shange was receiving treatment and was a regular, both at Life Westville Hospital and Life Entabeni Hospital.

A month ago Shange crashed his car and the insurance company wanted him to pay the excess of R11 000.

He had battled to raise the money, but recently told his family that he raised the funds and was planning to collect his car, said Sbonelo.

His brother had visited his girlfriend at Kwandengezi, near Pinetown, on Thursday, but was “acting strange”.

Shange’s girlfriend suggested they visit the hospital yesterday morning.

“We’re told that he had R5 000 cash. When they were driving to hospital in the morning he demanded that she switch off their cellphones.

“He then pulled out a gun, stormed out of the car and stopped a taxi and demanded that he be driven to the hospital,” said Sbonelo.

His girlfriend drove behind the taxi.

“Apparently the taxi wasn’t allowed to drive into the hospital because the security guards blocked it. That’s when Shange ran to the second floor and held the staff hostage,” Sbonelo added.

He said he and his other brother were called to the scene of the hostage drama to calm Bongani down but had failed.

“The rest of the family was not allowed go inside the hospital.”

Every time his brother had “money problems”, it would affect his behaviour.

Describing his brother as a genius, Sbonelo said he “always had his laptop and books”.

“He was very decent and didn’t drink alcohol or smoke.”

He had his gun for about eight years, but never carried it around, said Sbonelo.

Asked how the family were coping, he said: “Well, it’s tough. There are lots people who’ve come to pay their respects. But we’re strong,” he said.

Bongani was a father to a one-year-old baby and had been a teacher for about 13 years.

“He’s never threatened anyone before,” Sbonelo said.

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