Durban men averted death by the skin of their teeth

2011-04-02 17:23

A Durban petrol attendant says he narrowly escaped becoming alleged axe killer Joseph Ntshongwana’s fourth victim after an altercation at a Montclair petrol station, weeks before the bloody killing spree which has rocked south Durban.

Anele Njilo told City Press he was attacked by Ntshongwana, who allegedly threatened to behead him, after an argument in the garage forecourt.

Njilo said that Ntshongwana went ballistic after he asked him what kind of petrol he required. When Ntshongwana ignored him, Njilo asked again.

He said the burly, two-metre Ntshongwana screamed at him, jumped out of his car, grabbed him by his shirt and allegedly threatened to chop off his head.

“He came to the petrol station already angry. Nothing I said or did could have made him behave that way. He started shouting at me and throwing threats,” said Njilo.

“I asked him what was wrong with my question. That’s when he got angrier and got out of his car. He grabbed me by my shirt and threatened to cut my head off,” he added.

The slightly-built Njilo said he wasn’t “that scared” at the time, but was baffled about what could have made Ntshongwana fly off the handle so easily.

His colleagues came running to his rescue after they saw that Ntshongwana had attacked him.

“Even if they hadn’t come to intervene, he was also going to leave with a scar. I fought a lot when I was young and I was going to take him on just like that.

“I don’t care if he had the axe with him or not, I would’ve taught him a lesson,” he said.

When City Press showed Njilo and his supervisor, Lucas Makhoba, Ntshongwana’s picture they confirmed that he was the man who had threatened to kill Njilo.

Makhoba said Ntshongwana had been a regular customer, but that they had only really taken notice of him after he ran amok at the filling station.

“This is the guy. We won’t forget him, that’s for sure,” Makhoba said.

Nineteen-year-old Siyanda Khumalo said he was attacked by the axeman on March 21 in Umlazi but escaped.

Khumalo said a silver car pulled up next to him and a man got out.

“Although it was dark I could see that he was a decent guy. I didn’t think he out was to hurt me, so I kept walking at a normal pace until I saw something in his hand,” said Khumalo.

He said the man was holding something in an orange plastic bag, and tried to grab his shirt.

“I ran and screamed my lungs out. He hit at me with the axe but missed. I ran faster and faster.

“He picked up the axe and went back to the car,” Khumalo said.

Less than an hour later, another man allegedly escaped death in Lamontville township a few kilometres away.

Khangelani Mdluli said he was on his way home from work when a man in a car stopped, saying: “You thought I will never find you after you’ve infected my daughter with HIV? You destroyed her life and think you will get away with it? I told you that our paths will cross again.”

“I could see that he was angry and he wasn’t joking about this. He quickly went back to his car and took out the axe covered in an orange plastic,” Mdluli said.

Mdluli fled and the man left in his car.

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