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Pietermaritzburg - The mayor of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands town of Mooi River is living in fear following a botched arson attack at his home on Monday evening. 

Mooi Mpofana municipality Mayor Xolani Duma and his family were treated for smoke inhalation in an undisclosed hospital following an attack by unknown assailants on Monday night. 

The assailants reportedly stormed Duma's home in the early hours of the morning while he was asleep inside with his family, including a one-year old child. 

Tyres were burnt in front of the house and the occupants struggled to get out as smoke was coming inside. The attack comes 14 months after Chief Financial Officer of the municipality, Simo Mncwabe was shot dead while taking his children to school, this after receiving death threats.
 
Reacting to Monday’s attack, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube condemned the attack. "As Cogta, we condemn this act of cowardice directed at an elected public representative in the strongest language and we urge the law enforcement agencies to investigate this incident without delay."

She added that Cogta had repeatedly condemned recent attacks on public representatives in local government and traditional institutions, some of which have resulted in casualties. “The department views violence against councillors and amakhosi as completely unacceptable and a direct attack on democratic society. We call upon the police to investigate this incident speedily and leave no stone unturned.”

The attack has heightened fears in the Midlands region which has seen a number of high-profile attacks over the past few months. In the Richmond municipality, which is part of uMgungundlovu District, councillor Vusi Mkhize was shot dead just months after Municipal Manager Sibusiso Sithole and  Deputy Mayor Thandazile Phoswa were also killed.