Cops investigate ‘strike related’ shooting

2011-08-26 07:20

A confrontation between two municipal employees – believed to be strike related – nearly turned fatal.

Police are investigating a shooting incident which occurred during street cleaning operations in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, on Wednesday.

According to police reports, a supervisor employed by the Msunduzi Municipality was deployed in Havelock Road in the Pietermaritzburg CBD around 8.40pm.

The supervisor is said to have been sitting in his vehicle observing and providing protection to the members who were cleaning the streets when he was confronted by an unknown man.

The man then produced a firearm, prohibiting the supervisor from getting out of the vehicle.

However, the supervisor managed to force his way out, only to be confronted by the man pointing a firearm at him.

“The supervisor immediately drew his firearm and fired one shot at the man, hitting him in the head,” said the police’s Lieutenant Joey Jeevan.

Municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma confirmed the incident, describing it as regrettable.

“At the time of the issuing of this statement, the employee, who was shot, is at Chief Albert Luthuli Hospital where he is being treated, after having been transferred from Edendale Hospital. The incident is regrettable, and as a municipality, we are saddened by it,” said Zuma.

“We appeal for calm among all our employees, whether they are on strike or not, to allow the law to take its course,” he added.

The man is said to be in a critical condition. Jeevan said police cannot rule out the possibility that the incident may be strike related.

Meanwhile, 36 men have been charged for public violence, malicious damage to property, and obstruction of traffic in Pietermaritzburg.

The men were part of the demonstration staged by about 200 employees at the Timber Door Manufacturers in Chesterfield Road in Pietermaritzburg.

According to Jeevan, the strikers were burning tyres and preventing the free flow of traffic and stoning vehicles. This resulted in five cars being damaged with stones and knobkerries.

“Police warned the strikers to stop, however, they continued.

Police were then forced to take action and fired stun grenades to disperse the crowd and thereafter arrested 36,” added Jeevan.

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