ANC branch chair and children survive hail of bullets at home

Political factionalism in Ward 22 Pietermaritzburg blamed for violence

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Photo of woman pointing to apparent bullet hole
Nonhlanhla Khumalo shows where one of the bullets entered her home on Wednesday night. Photo: Ntombi Mbomvu

Nonhlanhla Khumalo, the ANC Machibisa branch chairperson in ward 22 Pietermaritzburg, was attacked in her home on Wednesday night. Her house came under gunfire.

Khumalo has been the branch chairperson for more than ten years.

Ward 22 Councillor Pat Jaca has been replaced by Xolani Ngongoma as the candidate for the upcoming elections.

According to ANC members who were at Khumalo’s home when Groundup visited, the attack was politically motivated.

The ward has two factions, one supporting Jaca, the other Ngongoma. Khumalo supports Ngongoma. The ANC members at Khumalo’s home said Ngongoma has the support of the majority of people.

Khumalo said she doesn’t feel safe. She has opened a case at the Plessislaer police station.

“The attack happened at night around 8:30pm,” she said. “At the time, 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.

“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,” said Khumalo.

Members of the community at Khumalo’s home accused Jaca of being behind the attack.

“Most of us here have been attacked by his boys. 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,” said one community member.

Khumalo accused councillor Jaca of benefitting his friends and said “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 in business and nothing more,” said Jaca.

Colonel Thulani Zwane said a case of attempted murder and malicious damage to property was opened at the Plessislaer police station. “The motive is unknown at this stage and no arrests have been made,” said Zwane.

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TOPICS:  Local Elections 2016 Violence

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