Eight arrested after IFP, NFP violence at hostel

2012-11-26 09:37

Eight people have been arrested after shots were fired, people were stoned, and a reporter’s car torched at the KwaMashu hostel at the weekend.

“Eight people were arrested for public violence and malicious damage to property,” said the KwaZulu-Natal police’s Colonel Vincent Mdunge.

The charges they would face when they appeared in the Ntuzuma Magistrates’ Court would relate to the torching of the car and the public violence in the area, said Mndunge.

He could not confirm claims by National Freedom Party (NFP) leader Zanele kaMagwaza Msibi that a woman had died, two other cars were torched and at least 20 other cars were damaged.

“We know that other cars were stoned during that incident. We are getting sworn statements,” he said.

“Certain individuals also sustained slight injuries. We are getting sworn statements from them.”

Responding to comments that the police did not take enough action, he said: “This whole saga is not necessarily about policing alone. It is also about political intolerance,” he said.

The police had a broader policing plan, which was effective, with extra policemen who were visible in the area.

“We can’t stop people embarking on violence all the time,” he said.

The situation had “normalised” by this morning, but there was still high police visibility in the area, he said.

Earlier, KaMagwaza Msibi condemned the violence. “It is clear that KwaMashu is gradually becoming a no-go area not only for other political party supporters, but for the media as well,” she said in a statement.

A car belonged to Sapa journalist Giordano Stolley who had been giving a lift to two other reporters, Bawinile Ngcobo from Isolezwe and Mpume Madlala from the Daily News.

The latter two fled their own cars when they too were pelted with stones.

KaMagwaza Msibi said she and her contingent were trapped inside Bhekuzulu Hall near the KwaMashu hostel yesterday after Inkata Freedom Party (IFP) supporters blocked them from holding a campaign meeting inside the hostel.

“IFP supporters blocked the road and were firing guns towards the NFP contingent to intimidate them from holding the meeting,” she said.

This happened “despite the fact that a strong police contingent had been deployed to keep the peace at the volatile hostel”, she said.

A female member of the NFP from the hostel was killed and “many others” were injured, she said.
Besides the three that were torched, more than 20 vehicles were damaged.

“I am extremely disappointed by what I personally witnessed at the hostel as the IFP literally prevented us from entering the hostel,” she said.

“They were shooting at us, insulting us and throwing stones at us. They said we will not be allowed to campaign in the hostel because it is their area. We had to be escorted by police out of the hostel, without holding our campaign meeting.

“My condolences also to journalists who were also attacked while covering our meeting,” she said.

The ward being contested became vacant when IFP councillor Themba Xulu was abducted and later found dead in October.

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