‘Put a stop to this madness’

2016-07-15 14:33


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Pietermaritzburg - Nonhlanhla Khumalo narrowly missed becoming the fifth Pietermaritzburg ANC member to be killed in a month, as campaigning ahead of the local government elections becomes increasingly fraught with danger.

Khumalo, chairperson of the ANC in Edendale’s Ward 22, and her daughters were watching television between 8.30 pm and 9 pm on Wednesday when their home came under fire.

A number of shots were fired — seven spent bullet casings were found at the roadside — and some struck the house. One hit the door and another flew through to the kitchen, where it lodged in the cutlery drawer.

“I just grabbed my daughters and we hid under the table. I did not sleep a wink that night. I was scared for my life. I am a woman and I live alone with my daughters. There is nothing I could have done other than to run for cover.

“Nothing was said; they just opened fire at my house. It looks like they only left after running out of bullets,” she said.

The attack on Khumalo’s home comes after the murders of four ANC members in Edendale and Imbali last month.

Imbali Ward 15 branch members Badedile Tshapha and Phetheni Ngubane were shot and killed as they walked home together from a branch meeting. Their deaths are believed to have resulted from a battle between two factions over the nomination of the party’s election candidate for the ward.

Also in June, Edendale Ward 12 chairman Nathi Hlongwa was gunned down while returning from a branch meeting, and Simo Mncwabe, the chief financial officer of the Mooi-Mpofana Municipality, was killed earlier that day.

Hlongwa’s death was also attributed to the candidate nomination process.

“The same thing almost happened to her,” said Xolani Ngongoma of the attack on Khumalo.

Ngongoma, the deputy chairperson and the ANC’s candidate in Khumalo’s ward, suspected that she had been targeted by those who had not emerged as candidates following the party’s branch meeting.

“Since last year, she has been receiving threats. Some people have said that no election posters not bearing their pictures and names would be put up in this area.

“While we were putting up election posters with [President Jacob] Zuma’s face, we were told that there would be bloodshed if we were to put up election posters with my face.

“Somebody needs to put a stop to this madness. We do not know what is next after this incident,” he said.

Khumalo said she had received threats after the ANC’s branch general meeting called last year to nominate the party’s candidate for the ward. The threats were repeated at the weekend while she and ANC volunteers put up election posters, she said.

Khumalo said she had been insulted and belittled by those unhappy with Ngongoma’s nomination for the area.

Plessislaer police Captain Musa Ntombela said no arrest had been made. A case of malicious injury to property had been registered and was under investigation, he said.

An ANC official said to be behind the threats and the attack on Khumalo told The Witness the accusations were baseless and that there was no evidence that he was involved.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzbrug  |  political killings

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