Mpumalanga police are investigating a case of attempted murder following a shooting incident in which an Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) member sustained an injury to his leg while attending a Julius Malema election campaign in Nkomazi.
The shooting took place at the KaMaqhekeza stadium in KaMaqhekeza (formerly Naas) outside Komatipoort on Tuesday.
“Yes, I confirm that an attempted murder case has been opened. No one has been arrested, and the police are still investigating,” said Tonga police spokesperson, Mzwandile Nyambi, on Wednesday morning.
EFF marshal, Senzo Thwala, who was wounded during the shooting, alleged that his assailant, who was escorting an ANC councillor earlier in the day, had refused to be searched before entering the stadium where Malema was due to address an election rally.
“They (ANC supporters) occupied the open ground not far from the stadium, where our meeting was to be held, claiming that they would be having a soccer tournament. We then moved our meeting to the stadium, and after we had set-up, we were surprised when the same person who had come earlier tried to force his way into the stadium, claiming that they now wanted to play soccer inside the stadium. I requested to search him, like everyone else, but he pulled out a gun and started shooting at us. We ran in different directions, and I think that’s when I got shot. I continued running, but fell down a few metres away,” said Thwala.
No other injuries were reported on the day.
A defiant Malema deviated from his electioneering speech, saying that some EFF leaders, fearing for his life, had advised him not to go to the stadium, but he did not want to be intimidated by the shooting.
“I had an appointment with you, and I was not going to cancel because they say people are shooting at each other. If they want to kill us, let them do that… We want free and fair elections. Let the people vote for a party of their choice,” said Malema.
ANC provincial secretary, Mandla Ndlovu, condemned the violence and said that he has demanded a report from ANC leaders in Nkomazi.
“We also indicated that you must allow people to campaign, because it is not going to assist you, not to allow political organisations to campaign because if they don’t campaign you will not even be able to know your strength, because if they campaign, you will be able to see how strong your opponent is. But I really don’t know what happened, that is why I said I want a full report” said Ndlovu.