Stabbing at ward meeting

2016-10-26 06:00

A CASE of assault has been opened against the Ward 22 councillor and at least four community members are nursing injuries after post-election violence reached boiling point in Edendale last week.

A community meeting, called to introduce new Ward 22 councillor Xolani Ngongoma, turned violent last Sunday afternoon.

Ngongoma now faces a charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH).

The area is one of several in Msunduzi that were identified as “poll hot spots” during the run-up to the local government elections, after communities protested against the ANC councillor candidate nomination process.

In July, ANC branch chairperson Nonhlan-hla Khumalo narrowly escaped death after her home came under fire by unknown gunmen, who fired several shots at her and her children.

Sources who attended the Ward 22 meeting said it had degenerated into chaos when an angry mob - believed to be aligned to the ousted councillor - stormed the meeting.

“They were asking why Ngongoma is being paraded in the community whereas there was still the ongoing dispute about his election,” said a source, who asked not to be named.

An aggrieved group launched a dispute with the ANC before the elections, opposing the election of Ngongoma as ward candidate.

“First it was pepper spray, then a brawl broke out between the angry mob and Ngongoma’s supporters.

“Next thing people were stabbed and gun shots were fired inside the Plessislaer Community Hall.

“I thought this is thing about fighting for positions is over, now it looks like it is going to get worse,” said the source.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said two cases of assault GHB were being investigated by Plessislaer police.

“The first case was opened by a 34-year-old man after he was allegedly assaulted and three other people were stabbed.

“In the second one, the complainant alleges that he was stabbed by a known suspect on the arm. The motive is unknown. No arrests have been made,” he said.

Ngongoma said he did not know why an assault case had been opened against him when it was his son who had been involved in the assault.

“The perpetrators stabbed my son inside the hall. He ran after the attackers and they wrestled outside the hall. My son managed to confiscate the knife.

“As a form of self-defence, he stabbed the attacker. I called the police and handed over the knife to the police.”

Ngongoma said he had gone to the police to report the matter and open a case against his son, as the councillor in the area, but was then told a case had been opened against him by someone else.

Ngongoma said he knew those who had interrupted the meeting were “bitter” because their preferred candidate did not get elected.

“Even during branch general meetings they were causing chaos. But this time I thought they were not coming because they had joined another political party,” he said.

Attempts to get comment from regional ANC secretary Mzi Zuma, were unsuccessful.

First it was pepper spray, then a brawl broke out between the angry mob and Ngongoma’s supporters.

Next thing people were stabbed and gun shots were fired inside the
Plessislaer Community Hall

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