Shots fired at ANC councillor`s home, shacks set alight

Shots fired at ANC councillor`s home, shacks set alight

11 January 2001

ANC members in Stellenbosch this morning laid charges of arson and attempted murder after shots were fired at the home of a councillor and two other members´ shacks were set alight.

At about 1.30 this morning, Alicia Mgijima, an ANC Councillor for Ward 8 in Khayamandi, Stellenbosch, woke up at the sound of gunshots. She and her husband Merryman just lied down on the floor and did not make a noise.

They laid down quietly until the sun came up and went to report the incident to the police. She said they did not attempt to go out of the house in fear of the attackers still lurking outside.

They later counted at least eight bullet holes in the wall of her main bedroom. They were not sleeping in the bed they normally do because she feared for her life. They later learnt that two other members´ house were set alight.

She believes members of the UDM are responsible for this because of threats they made against her and other ANC members on several occasions.

In fact, just last night members of the UDM disrupted a public meeting of the ANC and threatened councillors. The ANC laid charges of intimidation against the thugs.

Last year fires destroyed the shacks of some township communities. The Council supported the victims with emergency supplies like food and clothing. Two of the victims asked the Council to off-load their supplies at the home of Alicia Mgijima against her wishes. The victims insisted that she keep their belongings because they trusted her as their ward councillor.

Members of the UDM known to her, including a councillor, demanded to take away the supplies because they alleged that she was engaging in corruption. Despite explaining to them, about ten UDM members stormed into her house, assaulted her and threatened her and her family. She reported the case to the police.

A distressed Councillor Mgijima said: "I fear for my life and the lives of my family. I am so glad my children were away on holiday as they could have been killed.

"We deliberately did not sleep in the main bedroom because of the threats made against us in the past.

"I know who the perpetrators are and all I ask is for the police to apprehend the culprits and avoid the violence."

Faghrie Patel, Chairperson of the ANC in Stellenbosch, Bruce Kannemeyer and Mampie Ramotsamai, both Members of Parliament, have visited her this morning and will look into support and security for her and her family.

They will also make recommendations to the ANC´s Provincial Executive Committee on how to respond to the situation there.

The ANC Western Cape deplores these despicable attacks and call on the community of Khayamandi not to take the law into their own hands.

Without wanting to pre-empt the outcome of the investigation into the shooting on Mgijima, we urge the UDM leadership to look into the conduct of their members since there are several well-known recorded incidents of intimidation by their members.

If anyone has any information regarding the shooting incident, we call on you to assist the police.

For further comment, contact Faghrie Patel, ANC Stellenbosch Zone Chairperson 082-320-2159.
For any media enquiries, contact Gert Witbooi, Provincial Media Officer 082-570-9118.

Issued by African National Congress Western Cape