Durban - MEMBERS of the National Freedom Party (NFP) were being “killed like dogs”, party leader Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi said after hearing of the murder on Monday of a woman who had helped two victims of another shooting at the weekend.
Ntombi Mzila, 48, was on her way to see one of the wounded women, Nomusa Nhlengana, who had been discharged from hospital, when she was gunned down in KwaMashu on Monday, said NFP councillor, Bhungu Gwala.
“She was shot in the streets on her way to see Nomusa. She was going to check up on her because she had taken (the two) to hospital on Saturday,” he said.
Nhlengana, 31, and Zama Zungu, 25, were in a group of about 50 NFP members who were campaigning for the general elections when they came across about 100 IFP members who allegedly shot at them.
The IFP members were on their way to Princess Magogo Stadium to hear party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi speak.
Earlier on Monday, before the latest shooting, the IFP had distanced itself from any involvement of its members in Saturday’s shooting.
KaMagwaza-Msibi sounded distraught on Monday night when speaking about the shootings.
“What happened there is very painful and it puts me in a very awkward position as a leader because how do I continue preaching peace to our members when they are being killed like dogs?”
KaMagwaza-Msibi pleaded with the police to bring those responsible to book. While she would not speculate on who was responsible, she suspected it was politically motivated.
“Perhaps the IEC (Independent Electoral Commission) should look at disqualifying any party whose members are involved in this type of senseless violence,” she said.
“This could be meant to intimidate our people and the repercussions are that people might not go out in their numbers to vote on election day.”
Mayor James Nxumalo said the leadership of the city condemned the violence at KwaMashu Hostel.
“We are appealing to the parties for peace and stability.”
He said there should be no resuscitation of violence, especially with the elections looming.
Kate Bapela, chief communications officer for the IEC, said the situation was regrettable.
However, these matters were not dealt with by the IEC but by law enforcement agencies, she said.
“We only administer the elections. We do work with security clusters – the military and police – but matters of violence are dealt with by law enforcement.”
Nhlengana, who has since been discharged from King Edward VIII Hospital, told the Daily News that Mzila had accompanied her and Zungu to the hospital on Saturday.
“I fear for my life now, but I do not know where I will go to seek refuge,” she said.
Nhlengana said the NFP members had been preparing to visit an elderly party member on Saturday when they heard shots.
Moments later she felt something sting her in her buttocks.
“They (the IFP members) were marching in our direction and had been firing shots in the air, but then shot at us when they saw us.”
Zungu, who was also shot, said she was slightly dazed by the commotion and the sudden sharp pain.
IFP spokesman, Joshua Mazibuko, said he was not aware of the latest killing but expressed sadness. “It is really sad that such things are persisting at KwaMashu.”
Blessed Gwala, the national chairman of the IFP, said while the killing had not been reported to him, he believed it may have nothing to do with political violence.
“Although people involved in these are aligned to political parties we are getting a sense that they might be fighting over something else” he said.
Mazibuko, said it was unfortunate there had been a confrontation between the two groups and that the IFP did not encourage violence.
“Every organisation has the right to campaign anywhere they wish to. We condemn any violence that might be carried out during campaigning,” he said.
Mazibuko did not wish to comment further about the shooting, saying it was still under investigation.
“There are a lot of allegations surrounding the shooting and we cannot comment about it until the police have concluded their investigations and the culprits have been arrested,” he said.
Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, confirmed that a woman had been shot dead at KwaMashu Hostel at about 7pm.
A case of murder was being investigated.
Zwane said police had been deployed in the area after Saturday’s shooting to ease tension.
“If the violence escalates, we will deploy more members, but at the moment we have enough in the area.”
He said that while police were investigating two cases of attempted murder after the weekend shooting, there had been no arrests yet.