Pietermaritzburg police fired at a man believed to be mentally ill after he refused to stop his rampage of destruction on Tuesday morning.

He was wounded in the left leg.

CCTV footage of the man, 45, shows him walking along Church Street in the city centre, brandishing a knobkierie and homemade nunchucks.

He was seen threatening frightened pedestrians and damaging vehicles.

Pietermaritzburg collision unit members were parked at the intersection of Church and Chief Albert Luthuli streets when they saw the man hit a vehicle. They drove up to him to restrain him.

When the man saw the police vehicle, he struck the van with his knobkierie, damaging the front bumper, police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said.

“One of the officers confronted the man and instructed him to stop, but he refused to listen and continued threatening the officer in an aggressive manner.”

Zwane said the officer had no choice but to fire at the man, wounding him.

The man is under police guard at Northdale Hospital and is to be sent for mental evaluation.

During his rampage, the man broke the back window of a police vehicle parked in Church Street.

Police are investigating a count of attempted murder and two counts of malicious damage to property.


They have appealed to witnesses or those whose vehicles were damaged to call Detective Lieutenant Siphiwe Gwala of the Pietermaritzburg Detective Services at 033 3845 2743 or 082 025 8817.

Lynette Daniels, who was walking to Edgars in Church Street, said she saw the man wielding the knobkierie and screaming obscenities.

“People were afraid, running out of his way as fast as they could. He did not look like he was aware of his surroundings or what he was doing. It is really scary to know you can be walking along and be attacked by someone like that,” Williams said.

This is not the first time that a mentally disturbed man has run amok in the city.

In 2010, a man from the Jika Joe settlement, also described as mentally disturbed, went into the premises of Ally’s Advanced Driving School, hit a car with a steel pipe and assaulted a police officer with a brick.

He smashed all the windows and lights of the car with the steel pipe and bricks, causing thousands of rand damage.

Police were called, but when they arrived the man threw bricks at the officers. A policeman shot him in the leg to restrain him.

In 2009, several mentally disturbed people harmed others. In August that year, a man wielding an iron bar, bashed pregnant Nompumelelo Ndlovu to death on Boom Street. Police eventually shot him, wounding him.

Later that month, a man thought to be mentally disturbed attacked three people and stabbed a woman, 55, in Retief Street before fleeing.

Daily News