The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has asked police to pull out all efforts to track down “the criminals” who killed three of its members and injured four others at a party meeting in Durban on Saturday.
Three women were brutally killed and five others suffered bullet wounds when unknown men opened fire during an ANC community meeting to select a candidate councillor at Ward 54 in Inanda.
Yesterday, KwaZulu-Natal provincial commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi condemned the killings.
“The killing of innocent citizens cannot be accepted. We will do everything in 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.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said the incident happened at about 4pm on Saturday, when a group of people were standing at the front gate of Buhlebethu Primary School at Newtown C, in Inanda.
“It is alleged that at this stage a black Opel Corsa bakkie with five occupants drove by the school. Witnesses said the occupants of the vehicle opened fire at the group with handguns before fleeing the scene,” Brigadier Naicker said.
Three women, aged between 34 and 60, died because of the shooting and stampede that ensued.
Four women and a man, who are aged between 41 and 70 years old, were injured during the shoot-out 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 fearing for their lives, the tragedy struck as ANC ward 54 was in the final selection of its councillor candidate.
They told Independent Media that the incident happened after the person who was presiding over the meeting allegedly agreed to include the incumbent ward councillor, who was allegedly not among those nominated.
“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.
Yesterday, the branch leaders visited the families of the dead and those who were injured and treated at local medical facilities.
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal expressed its disgust at the killings, describing it as the work of criminals who deserved to be arrested and jailed for the callous act.
ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said his party was disappointed that a group of armed people stormed 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 criminals, they can’t be described as ANC members,” Ntombela said.
He said ward 54 was among the last of its 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 of SA announced the new date for the registration of candidates.
– Pretoria News