‘Comrade bites off face’

Councillor Mayenzeke Sopaqa is nursing his wound after he took a bite on his face from an angry resident, on Friday, in Langa. He is seen here showing the piece of flesh removed. PHOTO: Mbongiseni Maseko
Councillor Mayenzeke Sopaqa is nursing his wound after he took a bite on his face from an angry resident, on Friday, in Langa. He is seen here showing the piece of flesh removed. PHOTO: Mbongiseni Maseko

Langa Councillor Mayenzeke Sopa’qa said he is still in shock and nursing both a bruised face and ego after another community leader allegedly stormed into his office and sunk his teeth into his right cheek, almost biting off a chunk of his countenance.

Sopaqa, of Ward 52, said the incident took place last Friday and it was unbecoming of a member of the street committee in the area to do so.

Sopaqa refered to his alleged assailant as “Rhadebe”.

Inspector Odwa Makupula, communication officer at Langa Police Station, said a case of gross bodily harm (GBH) was opened against the suspect, 55, and that he appeared in the Bishop Lavis Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

Sopaqa said the alleged attacker had falsely accused him of not assisting the victims of a fire which broke out in Joe Slovo last Thursday.

About 40 shacks were razed to the ground during the fire.

Sopaqa said he was busy explaining to him that all the things that were not delivered at the time were on the way when the attacker started punching him on the face several times.

“He grabbed my neck from behind and started boxing me. I tried to hold his hands and asked him to stop, but he was very angry and repeatedly punched me. I wanted to push him out of my office, but he tripped me to the floor. I managed to get back on my feet and he then bit me in the face. I felt his teeth sink into my face, but there was no pain at the time. I did not realise that he had bitten off a chunk of flesh. I managed to overpower him and took him out of my office. There was blood all over my clothes and in the office. I did not fight him back,” he said.

One of the things that the attacker complained about was that the food was not delivered for the victims of the fire.

“I feel very bad that I was attacked in my office by someone who wrongfully accused me of not helping the victims. I do not know what informed his anger, because he is not even a victim of the fire. All the victims were happy about the help that they were getting and that I was there immediately after the fire started. They received hundred percent help that they needed. Disaster Risk Management Centre (DRMC), the City of Cape Town and all necessary departments came immediately after I called them. I even arranged a place for the victims to sleep,” he added.

According to Sopaqa, after seeing to the logistics of the aid, the man followed him to the offce.
“It was barely 20 minutes after I left the scene when the man attacked.”
Sopaqa also said the attacker told him that he and other residents will “remove him” from the office.
He said the incident is delaying the process of assisting learners who lost their school uniform and books, those who lost their Identity Documents (IDs), those who need to re-register for social grants and other help that he has to go and approve as the councillor as he has had to go and visit the doctor for surgery, on Tuesday.

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