A well-known member of the ANC in the Blouberg subregion of Limpopo has been arrested in connection with the petrol bombing of EFF councillor Kingsley Maribeng.
Maribeng was attacked at his home in Ga-Mochemi Village, Ward 14, two weeks ago. His bakkie was petrol-bombed along with his house, which had seven people inside.
Police investigating the matter traced Tlou Ernest Thanyane, a popular ANC member around the Blouberg Local Municipal area, who was picked up for allegedly being linked to the case.
Limpopo provincial police spokesperson Hlulani Mashaba said Thanyane is facing a charge of arson.
“The matter was reported to the police, and through the investigation, the suspect was arrested and appeared before Seshego Magistrate’s Court, where he was remanded in custody for bail application. The suspect appeared at Seshego Magistrate’s Court, and he was granted R1000.00 bail. He will appear again on November 24, 2023, while the investigation continues,” said Mashaba.
His arrest has, however, not brought any comfort to Maribeng and his traumatized family members. Speaking to African Times about the incident last week, the EFF councillor said.
“It is difficult to sleep since the incident happened on that night at around 10 p.m. I just heard a strange sound and asked my family members what was going on, until we noticed that my bakkie was on fire. Soon, we realised that a curtain inside the house had also caught fire.
“When we looked outside, there were men standing on guard, wielding stones in their hands. They blocked the door and stood guard on the windows to ensure none of us could escape and douse out the fire in the house and the bakkie. It was the most terrible incident I had ever witnessed,” he said.
Maribeng said his younger sister, who held a toddler in her arms, was pushed back into the house when she attempted to exit.
Luckily, the sister, a security guard, went for her pepper spray, which she used to push away the perpetrators.
“My sister knows I do not own a firearm, but she called out to me in a loud voice and told me to use my gun to shoot the scumbags. When they heard her plea, they fled the scene. We managed to get out of the house and also identified one of the attackers, who happens to be a subcontractor on the road project that sparked the attack,” he said.
At the centre of the attack is a road project that was allegedly only benefitting members of the ANC.
Maribeng said his sin was challenging the municipality about the jobs allocated to community members.
He said the community liaison officer who was picked did not even have a Grade 12 certificate, which was a violation of the advertised post.
The appointment of the officer overlooked community members who boast advanced diplomas and degrees, he said.
“The mayor of the municipality stays in this area, and it is understood that the project was earmarked to benefit ANC comrades. When I learned of the situation, I intervened and called for equal job opportunities for community members regardless of their political affiliation.
“This did not sit well with the top brass, especially because I had already informed the community that on Monday I would spill the beans on the illegal process being followed. It is quite obvious, given the identified suspect, that they wanted to shut me up permanently,” said Maribeng. “Surprisingly, after Thanyane’s bail, an entourage of boys drove by my house that night and played music loudly near the gates. This was a clear act of intimidation. When I called the police, they were flamboyant and did not care about my concerns. After I asked them to leave, I contacted the Senwabarwana station commander, who immediately instructed them to come back and attend to my concerns.”
However, the councillor is not assured that he is safe because of the politics he suspects are involved.
“I am a fighter, and I’ve dedicated my life to the struggles of our people. I will not stop doing my job, petrol bombs or not. I will continue to represent our people, despite the fact that we don’t feel safe in this household, which consists of three adults and four children,” he said.
Blouberg Local Municipality spokesperson Peter Moruthane said the municipality was still awaiting a report on the councillor’s attack.
“The municipality (Office of the municipal manager/mayor) has not yet received any formal report from the councillor as to what transpired. The criminal case was allegedly opened at the police station, and the municipality can’t dwell on much on police investigations,” said Moruthane.