Guard wounded in PMB ‘hit’

2017-10-02 13:47
'Death threats after rejecting tenders'.

'Death threats after rejecting tenders'. (File)

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A senior official at the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has survived what is believed to have been an attempted hit on his life.

Acting head of department Jeffrey Mfusi, who is understood to have received death threats six weeks ago, was lucky to be left unscathed after his house was attacked by unknown gunmen on the early hours of Saturday morning.

A security guard at Mfusi’s house was shot and was admitted to the intensive care unit at a local hospital after the incident.

Mfusi, who was only recently appointed to the position after his predecessor was hastily removed, is said to have been living in fear since he received the threats.

A source in the department said the matter had been escalated to Community Safety and Liaison MEC Mxolisi Kaunda.

The matter had also been reported to the police, a source said. The insider said Mfusi had been a target after rejecting some tenders in the department.

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, which has a budget of R2,197 billion this financial year, has a history of mismanaged funds and resources.

Earlier this year, MEC Themba Mthembu announced a forensic probe into how the department allegedly misused an estimated R220 million in drought relief funding.

The former head of the ministry, Mbuyiseni Mathonsi, was fired in August due to the strained relationship between him and Mthembu. The previous head of the department, Simphiwe Mkhize, was put on a precautionary transfer to the Office of the Premier.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Mthokozisi Ngobese said two suspects had approached Mfusi’s home in Old Howick Road in the early hours of Saturday.

“The suspects approached the gate and instructed the guards to stay in the guards’ house.

“When the guards came out, the suspects fired one shot, which struck the guard in his back.”

Ngobese said the guard was in a stable condition in a hospital.

No arrests have been made so far in a murder investigation.

Attempts to get comment from the department on Sunday were unsuccessful.

Departmental spokesperson Khaye Nkwanyana had promised to revert back to The Witness when phoned in the morning, but did not. Kaunda’s spokesperson Mluleki Mtungwa also did not answer his phone nor reply to an SMS query.

DA spokesperson on Agriculture and Rural Development Sizwe Mchunu described the incident as disturbing.

“This is very disturbing especially with all these political killings that have been happening in the province.

“With our maturing democracy, one would hope disputes would be solved peacefully, not through a barrel of a gun.

“We hope that the Department of Community Safety and Liaison will act decisively. This is happening at a time when there is this political fiasco going on at the department.

“The MEC needs to get to the bottom of this because the department is in a state of collapse,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  political killings

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