Cops launch manhunt after 3 killed, 5 wounded in drive-by shooting at ANC meeting
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Durban - Police are hunting armed men who opened fire and killed three women in a drive-by shooting outside an ANC meeting in Inanda on Saturday.
The women were part of a group waiting to vote outside the Buhlebethu Primary School where the ANC was finalising the nomination of a ward councillor. Five other people were wounded.
KwaZulu-Natal provincial commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi condemned the attack.
“The killing of innocent citizens cannot be accepted and we will do everything that is within our control to bring the perpetrators to book. We are also appealing to the community to expose the culprits of this heinous crime. There can be no justification for such a vicious and cowardly act,” Mkhwanazi said.
Police spokesperson Jay Naicker said the incident happened at about 4pm on Saturday.
“It is alleged that... a black Opel Corsa bakkie with five occupants drove by the school. According to witnesses, the occupants of the vehicle opened fire at the group with handguns before fleeing from the scene,” Brigadier Naicker said.
The three women, aged between 34 and 60, died at the scene. Four women and a man, aged between 41 and 70 were wounded and received medical attention.
“Police at Inanda are investigating three counts of murder and five of attempted murder. We cannot confirm the motive for the shooting at this stage,” he said.
According to bystanders, who refused to be named for fear of their lives, the shooting took place after the process of final nominations for a ward councillor, allegedly when the person who was presiding over the meeting agreed to include the incumbent ward councillor.
“This angered some people, who were also eliminated by the process, but were not extended the same privilege. While the people were queueing to vote, an unmarked vehicle drove by and opened fire into the crowd. When it was over, three people died and many others were rushed to medical facilities,” one of the bystanders said.
On Sunday, ANC branch leaders visited the families of those killed and injured.
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal said the killings were the work of criminals who deserved to be arrested and jailed for their callous act.
ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said his party was disappointed that a group of armed people stormed into their party’s meeting and killed innocent people.
“It was an unexpected turn of events. The ANC in the province had organised more than 900 branch general meetings. No single incident of shooting happened at those general meetings.
“We still do not know what happened at ward 54. The meeting was held to conclude the party’s nomination process. We are hoping that the police will work hard to arrest the perpetrators. These are the work of criminals, they can’t be described as ANC members,” Ntombela said.
He said ward 54 was among the last of their branches that were supposed to conclude their community meetings for the nomination of the councillor to be included on the list of candidates when the Electoral Commission (IEC) announces the new date for the registration of candidates.