Councillor shoots bodyguard by accident

2010-08-24 00:00

A BODYGUARD assigned to the mayor of the ANC-led Emnambithi/Ladysmith Municipality was accidentally shot dead by an ANC ward councillor in Ezakheni A-Section just outside Ladysmith early on Sunday morning.

The bodyguard, Sphelele Thwala, and the councillor were friends.

Thwala was at home with the councillor, whose name is withheld since he is yet to appear in court, when the councillor’s girlfriend came looking for him.

He allegedly argued with the woman, telling her to stop “harassing” him when he was with friends.

A source told The Witness that the councillor got angry and chased his girlfriend away. Thwala tried to calm him down, but the councillor fired gunshots in the air and the police were called.

Allegations are that a scuffle ensued between the police and the councillor and the police used force to subdue him.

Thwala got into the councillor’s vehicle to take him home. It is not clear what had led the councillor to fire the shots, but allegations are that two shots ended up hitting Thwala in the stomach.

The manager in the mayor’s office, Simon Gumede, said the municipality was working on a media statement, but it had not been released by the time of going to print.

A police source said Thwala was hit by two bullets and that investigators struggled to get information from people at the crime scene.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said the only information is that police responded to a shooting report at 3.30 am on the day in question.

At the scene, police were told that the victim had been taken to hospital, Naicker said. When they arrived at the Ladysmith Provincial Hospital the victim had died.

A suspect was arrested on the same day and a case of murder is being investigated.

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