Nonhlanhla Khumalo, the ANC Machibisa branch chairperson in Ward 22, Pietermaritzburg, fears for her life and her family’s safety after their home was raked with gunfire.
Khumalo, who has held the position for more than 10 years, opened a case at the Plessislaer police station following the terrifying incident at around 20:30 on Wednesday.
“I had just got home from a community meeting. We were watching television in the lounge with my three children when we heard gunshots.
They were very close and that is when we realised it was aimed at us,” she said.
“All of us had to lie on our stomachs. Some of the bullets came through the main door to the kitchen. We stayed down until they were finished. We immediately called the police, but they only came midday [the following day].”
According to ANC members who were at Khumalo’s home when Groundup visited, the attack was politically motivated.
The Ward 22 councillor, Pat Jaca, has been replaced by Xolani Ngongoma as the candidate for the upcoming elections.
The ward has two factions, one supporting Jaca, the other Ngongoma. Khumalo supports Ngongoma.
The ANC members visiting Khumalo said Ngongoma has the support of most local residents. Members of the community also present, agreed, and accused Jaca of being behind the attack.
“Most of us here have been attacked by his boys,” one of them said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“He has stopped us from having community meetings at KwaPoyinandi community hall. The only people who hold meetings at the hall are him and his people. We now hold our meetings in one of our member’s houses.
“We don’t care what he does. If it means we die for supporting Ngongoma so be it,” the resident said.
Khumalo accused Jaca of abusing his position as councillor to benefit his friends. “He has done enough damage in the ward.”
Jaca denied the allegations.
“I’m 63-years-old, and I don’t have the energy to fight for the title of being ward councillor. I don’t have people whom I send to attack or hurt others. My focus is on business and nothing more.”
Police spokesperson Colonel Thulani Zwane confirmed that a case of attempted murder and malicious damage to property had opened at the Plessislaer police station.
“The motive is unknown at this stage and no arrests have been made. – GroundUp