Durban - Tensions are running high in Lindelani township, KwaDukuza (Stanger), after the killing of an ANC member 30 metres from a voting station.
Mother-of-three Nu Mhlongo, 30, was gunned down just two days after she celebrated her birthday.
Her death has left the community tense, sparking accusations and counter-accusations between the IFP and ANC.
A witness, Zazi Thwala, 40, said Mhlongo was “shot and she died in my yard”, near where the ANC was manning a tent, assisting voters on their way to the nearby ward 4 community hall.
He said a group of ANC supporters had been singing and dancing outside his home after the voting stations had closed, when they saw some IFP supporters approaching, also singing.
“We quickly went back into our tent.
“When they approached us they sang louder,” Thwala said.
He said the crowd of IFP supporters drew near and parted, revealing someone carrying a gun.
“He aimed at us and fired a shot. She was shot on the left side of her chest.”
Thwala said the crowd then closed ranks and “carried on singing as if nothing had happened.
“I ran into my house as everyone around me was running in different directions.”
Zanele Ntuli, 37, who was among the ANC supporters when the single shot rang out, was still shaken on Thursday when she spoke to the Daily News.
She said she was too frightened to go to work because of the ugly mood in Lindelani.
Ntuli said the owner of the tent who had hired it out to them was too scared to pick it up.
Mhlongo’s brother, Siboniso Qwabe, said he still could not believe his sister had died.
“Maybe after the funeral it will sink in. Right now I am still in shock and I am at a loss for words. She was the breadwinner in the family. She did everything for us. I don’t know how we will cope without her.”
He said Mhlongo’s three children, Siyamthanda, 18 months, Nomvelo, 6, and Ayanda, 9, were now without the mother they needed.
IFP deputy national chairman, Albert Mncwango, insisted Mhlongo was killed by a member of her own party.
“I would like to clarify that the person who shot the victim was a fellow ANC member. He is known to be hostile and aggressive. IFP members were walking towards their own tent when someone from the ANC fired a shot toward the IFP crowd. The shot hit an ANC member instead.”
KZN premier Senzo Mchunu, accompanied by Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma went to pay their respects at Mhlongo’s home, 100m from where the shooting took place.
He said: “The situation will be closely monitored. Her death has left us in a state of despair, as if our efforts to end political violence were for nothing.”
Dlamini Zuma said: “The ANC is a disciplined organisation that follows the law. There will be no revenge attacks. We will carry on the spirit Nu left us with and take the ANC forward.”
Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said the motive for the killing was unknown.