Cape Town - Security and the high crime rate in Gugulethu has become a major concern for Mzoli Ngcawuzele, founder and owner of Mzoli’s restaurant.
Ngcawuzele’s concerns come after ANC councillor Luvuyo Zondani was shot and robbed of his cellphone at Mzoli’s on Friday night.
“We are stepping up security here to protect our patrons but police must also play their part to reduce criminal activity in the area,” said Ngcawuzele on Sunday. We used to have a total of seven to eight security guards but now we have 10.”
Zondani was shot in the abdomen on Friday as he was leaving the restaurant. He was rushed to Melomed Gatesville in a critical condition and underwent emergency surgery to remove the bullet.
ANC provincial spokesman Cobus Grobler said Zondani was still in high care on Sunday. “His condition is stable but critical. There’s a lot of internal damage.”
Ngcawuzele said that 7-8pm was usually closing time at his restaurant.
“Starting at 7pm we start to shut down and the people must leave as this is also a time when some criminals might target people going to their cars.”
A resident who witnessed the attack in Bambanani Street, said Zondani’s car was parked in front of her house when the gunman approached.
“I was standing with the man (Zondani) and chatted to him. There were four guys standing across the street from us and one of them came over and stood in front of us with a gun and asked for his cellphone.
“Before the man could say anything he just fell to my feet. He was shot. We put him in one of the cars and rushed him to hospital.”
One of Ngcawuzele’s assistants, Andile Shooter, said: “There is a lot of crime in this township. Our place is clearly demarcated for visitors and tourists and they must not trust strangers that hang around here. You will find a lot of unemployed people that will target visitors.”
Shooter called on Bambanani Street residents to work together to stop criminals.
“We are having a meeting with the street community to address the issue and identify culprits. We will also have people in plain clothes in the restaurant that can monitor any criminal activity.”
Zondani is councillor for ward 38, which includes Gugulethu and Nyanga. In the 2011 local government elections he won the seat with more than 90 percent of the vote.
Mayor Patricia de Lille condemned the shooting as an “act of lawlessness”.
“I hope that councillor Zondani will have a quick recovery and continue to represent his party in council,” she told the Weekend Argus.
In the last recorded incident at Mzoli’s, in 2011, two Belgian architecture students were attacked with a broken bottle. One suffered a cut to his arm as the pair returned to their car.
They later praised the rapid community and police response which helped to track down an attacker.
Ngcawuzele’s family has also fallen victim to crime. In December 2006, his daughter Sisanda was kidnapped by three men who demanded R300 000 ransom from him.
The trio posed as clients for her promotions company and asked to meet her at a house in Parklands.
Police found her three days later, with minor injuries.
In April last year the trio received sentences from seven to 12 years.
Commenting on Friday night’s incident, police spokesman André Traut said no arrests have been made in their ongoing investigation. – Additional reporting by Chelsea Geach