PMB teen killed after rally

2008-08-17 00:00

THE victim of a shooting that occurred after an African National Congress rally at the King Goodwill Zwelithini stadium, Umlazi, was a teenage boy from Pietermaritzburg.

Wanda Phelakho (18) of the Vulindlela area was killed when he tried to take cover next to a bus during a random attack outside the stadium after the rally on Saturday.

His family was devastated by the news of his death. His mother said she was not aware that her son had gone to the rally.

“It came as a big shock. I didn’t even know that he was at the rally,” Wanda’s mother said, before bursting into tears and ending the conversation. Attempts to reach other family members were unsuccessful as they had switched off their phones.

“He was a lovely child, respectful and had a great future ahead of him, I can’t believe he is gone ….” said his mother.

Wanda was a grade 11 pupil at Mzamweni High School.

The family had gone to visit relatives in the kwaNyuswa area near Pinetown and Wanda was left behind with younger cousins. According to the ANC councillor in the area, Bonga Shozi, Wanda was a member of the ANC Youth League.

It is alleged that the shooting started soon after the rally finished. Wanda was inside a bus that was to take them back home. However, when they heard gunshots, the people on the bus jumped out and tried to hide on the opposite side. While taking cover, Wanda was struck by a bullet and died on the spot. The bus was parked at an island on the Mangosuthu Highway.

Police spokeswoman Daniela Veldhuisen said a single bullet hit Wanda in the head.

Veldhuisen could not say whether the shooting was politically motivated. “We can’t say what was the motive at this stage, but an investigation is under way.”

The rally was held to launch the ANC’s 2009 election campaign in KZN. “The blood of our comrades, shot at in an act of cowardice, can only make us more determined to win the elections next year,” said provincial secretary Senzo Mchunu.

“The shooting came from an anonymous person within the precinct of T-section. We urge the police to their utmost to bring the perpetrators to book,” he said.

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