Cape Town - A DA councillor in George is facing an attempted murder charge after he allegedly shot and wounded a man in an argument over money.
He is believed to have then stashed what turns out to have been a “stolen” firearm at a friend’s house.
Southern Cape police confirmed on Tuesday that the firearm had been stolen in a burglary at a home in George in 2013.
Ludwe Qupe, 32, was arrested in connection with the shooting and is out on bail.
The shooting is the second controversial incident in less than a week involving a DA councillor. Last week, DA councillor Nyaniso Jindela was removed from a council meeting in Stellenbosch after allegedly slapping an opposition councillor, André van der Walt, of the Sibanye Civic Association.
Jindela said he had been provoked by Van der Walt, whom he accused of using the the k-word during a council meeting.
On Friday, Qupe missed the whirlwind visit to George by party leader Helen Zille after Thembalethu police had arrested him on a charge of attempted murder.
The DA’s provincial leadership has given Qupe 24 hours to respond to allegations in DA ranks that he had been in possession of an unlicensed firearm and that the shooting was sparked because he owed the victim money for ammunition.
While police could not confirm the rumours, spokesman Captain Malcolm Pojie said they would be probing all the claims.
Police have alleged that Qupe and the victim were arguing in the street near the councillor’s home in Sandkraalweg, Thembalethu.
A shot went off, hitting a man, 26, in the left arm.
Pojie said the shooting occurred on Monday, January 27, but Qupe was arrested on Friday after police obtained a statement from the victim when he was discharged from hospital.
“Police initially battled to get information from the community after the shooting and had to wait to interview the victim.”
Pojie added that police had found the firearm only after Qupe’s arrest.
“The firearm was eventually located at the home of one of Qupe’s friends. The firearm has been sent for ballistic testing.”
Qupe briefly appeared in the Thembalethu Magistrate court last Friday and was released on R1 000 bail.
The case has been postponed until next month.
The DA’s chief whip in the George Council, Flip de Swardt, said on Tuesday the party and the city council of George were not considering taking action against Qupe until the court case had been finalised.
But DA provincial chairman Anton Bredell took a stronger approach, confirming he had written to Qupe to ascertain the facts regarding his arrest and allegations that he had been in possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.
“He has 24 hours to respond, whereafter the party will decide on appropriate action,” Bredell said.
This could include suspension. - Cape Argus