The Democratic Alliance (DA) has announced that it will lay charges against the mayor of Mpumalanga’s JS Moroka municipality, the ANC’s Thulare Madileng and his “bouncers”, who are accused by the party of “thuggery and lawlessness” after a protester was shot on Monday.
According to the DA, the JS Moroka community was “woken up by gunshots” on January 13 when Madileng attempted to force his way onto the premises of the municipal office to serve municipal manager Thami Ngobeni – who the party alleges he has “been involved in an ongoing battle” with – with a dismissal letter.
“Madileng, his well-armed driver, and bouncers arrived at the municipal gates in two minibuses. They were refused entry and an altercation ensued between them, the municipal security staff and the public,” a statement from the DA says.
“In the scuffle live ammunition was fired, resulting in one of the members of the public getting badly injured and being rushed to Philadelphia hospital in Dennilton.
“The members of the public then retaliated, resulting in the mayor’s car being damaged and some of the bouncers being seriously assaulted to the extent that they had to be hospitalised.”
The DA says it will also write to Mpumalanga cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC MJ Msibi to request that “urgent action” is taken against the mayor.
The Sowetan reported on Wednesday that a man who was shot during the incident alleges that the mayor himself was one of those shooting.
READ MORE: Community member allegedly shot in protest against Mpumalanga mayor
“I don’t know from which firearm the bullet that shot me came, but the mayor was among those shooting at us,” protester Mduduzi Mthombeni told the publication.
The Citizen reported on Monday that EFF councillors had alleged that a protest against Madileng ended with one of the protesting community members being shot and rushed to hospital.
The EFF’s Mpumalanga leader Collen Sedibe said he understood the injury was to the protester’s hand and that a member of the mayor’s security detail allegedly pulled the trigger after the community member gained access to the premises through the municipal offices’ gate.
Sedibe echoed the DA in accusing the municipality of having hired “bouncers”.
The mayor normally has bodyguards with him, particularly after a prayer meeting he was attending last year in November in the council chambers descended into chaos when panga-carrying men and women stormed into the room. He has said this is because he has feared for his life and required protection from angry community members.
The Citizen has been unable to obtain comment from the mayor thus far, and will update this story if and when we receive it.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Background reporting, Charles Cilliers)
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