IFP mob blamed for car torching

2012-11-26 00:00

TWO Durban journalists escaped unharmed when the car they were travelling in was torched, allegedly by IFP supporters, in KwaMashu A-Section yesterday afternoon.

Former Witness reporter Mpume Madlala, now with Durban’s Daily News, was with another journalist from Isolezwe in Sapa reporter Joe Stolley’s Fiat Uno when it was set alight at 2 pm.

Stolley said as they arrived in KwaMashu, he heard that NFP leader Zanele Magwaza-Msibi’s convoy was being stoned.

“I parked where I thought it was quiet, and rushed to Magwaza-Msibi’s convoy to take photographs,” Stolley said.

“As I was there, I received a call from one of the girls who told me that they are running away as the car was being stoned. They then told me that it had been set on fire,” he said.

Stolley’s car was “absolutely destroyed” after the incident, and he said he had filed a case with the police.

“I’m bloody angry. I’m also angry at myself because I left the hard drive in the car. It was basically my life’s history. Photographs, all of my personal copies, personal photos of my little girl who is 18 months old were on there,” he said.

He urged politicians to stay out of the volatile A-Section, which is home to a number of hostels.

“Stay out of A-Section,” was a message he wanted to send to political leaders. “What did Magwaza-Msibi want to go do there?” he asked.

The NFP had gone to KwaMashu to campaign for the vacant council seat of Themba Xulu of the IFP, who was abducted and killed early last month.

The NFP’s Sibusiso Mncwabe said as they arrived in KwaMashu, IFP members barricaded the hall, their cars and members were stoned, and several gunshots were fired in the air.

“As we approached the hall, IFP members had barricaded the entrance with large rubbish bins. The police had to intervene to have them removed,” said Mncwabe.

He said as their cars were left outside of the gates, they were stoned and several of their members were injured.

“The police failed to deal with the IFP members, they informed us that it was not safe and with the crowd of IFP members that had been temporarily dispersed, they threatened to come back with more guns, so we decided it was best to leave.”

IFP leader Blessed Gwala condemned the incident and said “any incident of violence and intimidation cannot be accepted”.

He however pointed out that the NFP should not be quick to apportion blame to the IFP. “The IFP is an organisation and the people who did this are individuals, they should point those individuals so they could be arrested.

Stolley said: “If the IFP says it was not their people, then that’s rubbish.”

Police spokesperson Colonel Vincent Mdunge said one car was set alight in the stand- off between “a mob of about 300”.

He said a case of malicious damage to property and public violence would be investigated.

“No shots were fired,” he said when asked about reports of gunfire.

The situation was under control and police were still on the scene late yesterday afternoon.

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