Durban - Already R400 000 has been raised for triathlete Mhlengi Gwala who was allegedly attacked by three men who then tried to saw off his legs while he was cycling in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Gwala now needs R100 000 to reach the R500 000 mark needed for all his medical expenses.
People from across the world have donated Rands and US dollars after JP Valverde shared Gwala’s story on fundraising website www.backabuddy.co.za “to raise funds to support him with all his medical expenses, transportation, bike replacement and rehabilitation costs” said Valverde.
Among those who have donated, some have opted to remain anonymous while others have shared their identities.
Moreover, people have shared their messages of support along with their donations.
Here are a few:
Ivan Benade: I am expecting you to go for gold at the next Triathlon Olympic Games.
Charm: I don’t know you but your story broke my heart. I am so sorry you had to go through this. Stay strong and get back on that bike. We are all behind you.
The Deanes: SA triathletes in the UK behind you all the way.
Jason Becker: Get well soon bud - from one triathlete to another.
Rob: Raise hell out there.
Gwala was attacked while cycling along Francois Road, near the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) when he was confronted by the men.
According to a source, Gwala offered the men his cellphone and other belongings that he had with him but the men declined. They managed to saw through half of his one leg and found that their weapon was blunt. They also tried to saw off his second leg. Eventually the men fled.
Gwala was rushed to the Albert Luthuli Hospital in a serious condition before being transferred to St Augustine’s Hospital where he underwent surgery on Wednesday.
In a statement issued by Thamie Mthembu, sport and recreation spokesperson said in a statement that Toko Xasa, Minister of Sport and Recreation has condemned the attack on Gwala and said that it was inhumane to treat the budding athlete in that manner and it has caused pain not only to the athlete but it also threatens to jeopardize his international career.
Mthembu said Xasa wishes Gwala a speedy recovery following his operation and she looks forward to seeing him on the training track.
Xasa also encouraged police to leave no stone unturned in their investigations.
The minister also took the opportunity to South Africans to be vigilant when exercising on roads, especially when they are alone.