Attack on BLF deputy president 'to intimidate her' ahead of state capture inquiry testimony - BLF

A case has been opened against the attacker of Black First Land First (BLF) deputy president, Zanele Lwana, the organisation said on Sunday.

While the group has welcomed the development, it says the police only opened the case after the BLF put pressure on them, and the organisation says they will lay a complaint with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).

An attacker entered Lwana's Soweto flat at about 02:00 on Saturday morning and tried to strangle her, but ran away when other "comrades" in the building woke up. The BLF believes the attack was political, intended to intimidate Lwana, who is due to testify at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture on February 12.

BLF spokesperson Lindsay Maasdorp said on Saturday, "[She] fought back. During the scuffle other comrades woke up and the intruder fled with two phones, including the one of the deputy president.

"The intruder tried to strangle the deputy president, leaving her with an injured neck and bruises on her arms. [We believe] this was … [an] act to try intimidate [Lwana] with the hope of making her back off from submitting evidence to the Zondo Commission on state capture."

On Sunday, the BLF confirmed that a case against the attacker was registered at the Orlando Police station.

Disappointed 

But the organisation is not happy with the police.

"BLF is disappointed that the case was only opened after pressure was put on the police by the movement to do their work. BLF will lay a complaint with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) in this regard.

"The conduct of the police is not conducive to fighting crime and serving the community. If the police had to be put under pressure before they acted in a case of a prominent leader, what more in the case of an ordinary citizen?" said the BLF in a statement.

The organisation said it reiterated its belief that the attack on Comrade Lwana was part of a conspiracy to try and stop her from giving evidence to the commission of inquiry.

Lwana is supposed to testify about alleged corruption at National Treasury involving the "disappearance" of R4.3 billion. This allegedly occurred under former finance ministers, Pravin Gordhan and Nhlanhla Nene, the BLF said.

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