PRETORIA. — The highly-contested nomination process for the ANC councillor in Ward 15 in Nellmapius took a violent turn on Wednesday night when a branch member was fatally shot, allegedly by his disgruntled comrades.
Two more people sustained injuries and one of them – a branch secretary – was hospitalised following the shooting incident.
It was said the shooting took place away from the voting station, but at the time when public voting was under way.
ANC regional secretary Eugene “Bonzo” Modise told the Pretoria News that those who were shot at were returning from overseeing voting at the station when they were ambushed by gunmen on Solomon Mahlangu Drive.
He labelled the alleged perpetrators “hooligans” who had associated themselves with “those who have interest in becoming councillors”.
“When they realised that they were not nominated or they were not standing a better chance they started this,” he said.
Although reluctant to disclose the identities of the suspects, Modise said prior to voting the regional leadership learnt about the differences among the ward 15 comrades.
“There were some difficult members that we attended and we spoke to them. We told them about how the process unfolded, that it was free and fair. We thought everybody was happy. Unfortunately, this happened yesterday (Wednesday) when we were closing the voting.”
One of the victims of the shooting is branch secretary Matlhaku Mojapelo, who was said to have been shot in her backside. She was rushed to hospital, but was discharged yesterday morning. Attempts reach her were fruitless as her phone was on voicemail.
One of the frontrunners for the position of the councillor, Joel Masilela, is an incumbent in Ward 15. He too could not be reached.
The identity of the dead man could not be confirmed, but he was allegedly known as Mpho and a close ally to the branch secretary.
Modise believed the shooting was “premeditated”.
“In terms of their plan they closed the road, Solomon Mahlangu, as it passes through Nellmapius. In the process they shot one kombi; they shot the car of the branch secretary. So it was well-orchestrated,” he said.
He described the shooting as “very worrisome”, saying the ANC leaders were “shocked” and that the matter was reported to the law-enforcement agencies.
Asked about the identities of the mastermind behind the incident, he said: “I am told the people behind the incident are known, but now I can’t say because it is still early days and it is a matter under scrutiny and investigations.”
Silverton police spokesperson Warrant Officer Isaac Mcunu was unavailable for comment.
The Pretoria News was told about another violent incident which took place in Ward 86 in Nellmapius, where a group of people allegedly pepper-sprayed voters inside one of the voting stations.
According to some community members, this stemmed from the rejection of the person proposed by the residents to lead the nomination list of the ANC.
“I heard about it and I spoke to some of them. I told them a process in terms of accommodating everybody. They agreed,” said Modise.
“When somebody is needed by the community there must be a threshold that is met. So if there are 500 members in that community, the person must get 50 plus one meaning 251. So if you fail as a candidate you drop.”
The ANC’s nomination process has been in full swing to consolidate the list of its councillors ahead of the IEC deadline of August 23 for all political parties to submit the names of their contestants for the local government elections.
Last week, the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma promulgated October 27 as the election date. – Pretoria News