No politics for petrol bomb woman

09/04/2015 Durban Nompumelelo Nyandeni is helping her daughter in Burn ward at Ngwelezane Hospital. PICTURE: SIBUSISO NDLOVU

09/04/2015 Durban Nompumelelo Nyandeni is helping her daughter in Burn ward at Ngwelezane Hospital. PICTURE: SIBUSISO NDLOVU

Published Apr 10, 2015


Durban - The mother of the 4-year-old girl injured during a petrol-bomb attack at their home in Esikhawini, near Richards Bay, has decided to distance herself from politics.

Nompumelelo Nyandeni, 38, an IFP member who is the owner of one of the two homes set alight 20 minutes apart early on Monday in the Madukwini area, said she would put her family’s safety first.

“Even though for now it is just suspicions that this is linked to politics, I have decided that politics is not worth putting my family in danger,” she said on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Nyandeni had vowed she would continue serving her party no matter what, as her husband, Samson Gwala, had died serving the IFP.

Gwala, a former ward councillor, was gunned down in 2013.

Nyandeni is now in hiding, in the wake of the attack, with her three other daughters.

The Daily News accompanied Nyandeni to visit her daughter, Aphelele Gwala, in hospital and found the little girl just coming out of theatre after having her wounds cleaned and new bandages put on.

When the child awoke, she was shivering and the nursing sister in charge of the burn section ward ordered an extra blanket for her.

She asked for some water and after one sip, immediately went back to sleep.

“At least she can talk now. I have been praying for her to talk,” Nyandeni said.

“The doctor said the burns on the back of her right leg will cause a little limping once she has healed as there was a lot of tissue damage there.”

She did not want to leave her child’s bedside and said she was waiting for her to wake up again and speak a little more.

Her other daughter, Samkelisiwe Gwala, a 19-year-old Grade 11 pupil who suffered minor burns on her right hand during the attack, said she did not want to go back to their house.

“I have never been that scared in my life. I have never seen so much fire. Sleep does not come easy, I do not think I can ever sleep in that room again,” she said.

Nyandeni’s two other children, Thabile, 6, and Kwanele Gwala. 2, were not injured in the fire.

Nyandeni said it was hard being in hiding because the people she was staying with were also now fearing for their lives.

A neighbour, an IFP member who refused to be identified, said he was scared to speak openly about the attacks because that would get him and his family in danger.

“We are still shocked and asking ourselves what kind of person would want to do that to innocent children,” he said.

“We are some of the people who helped out when we saw the fire and I am not comfortable with even that fact because I ask myself, if these people could do this to children, what would stop them from doing the same to my family if they found out I helped save those lives, which is clear they wanted over and done with?”

Another neighbour said he could not say whether the attacks were political.

“I do not want to talk about something I do not know anything about. I would rather let the police do their job and have them come and tell us why these two homes were attacked,” he said, declining to say which political party he supports.

Miriam Sikhakhane, 48, the acting IFP councillor in the area, said the attack had caused fear in some members of the party.


“Some people are saying they do not want to be identified with the party anymore, which is not very good for our work. Local government elections are coming up next year and this situation is not good for us, but it is understandable why people would be fearful.”

Sikhakhane said she did not know of any previous political violence in the area except for the sole case of the gunning down of Nyandeni’s husband in 2013.

Independent ward councillor, King Nsibande, said last night he could not comment on the attacks as he had not yet seen the family.

Meanwhile, police have reported four other fire attacks in Ngcombo Reserve, a neighbouring area, that happened on the same day as those in Madukwini.

Esikhawini police were investigating six cases of arson, provincial police spokesman, Major Thulani Zwane said.

IFP chairman in the Uthungulu District, Thamsanqa Ntuli, said they were not aware of other attacks but would be checking the area to see if the incidents were related.

ANC secretary for the Musa Dladla region, Tholi Gwala, said his party could only comment once the police had established that the attacks were politically motivated.

Daily News

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