An Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) councillor in Limpopo lives in fear after his home was petrol-bombed with seven occupants inside.
Blouberg Local Municipality councillor Kingsley Maribeng is adamant that the motive behind the shocking attack is connected to his intervention in a road construction initiative aimed at benefiting the village of Ga-Mochemi in Ward 14.
Although the attack took place two weeks ago, Maribeng is concerned that the perpetrators are hell-bent on making his life miserable.
“It is difficult to sleep since the incident happened on that Sunday 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, who works as 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.
A road project allegedly benefitting ANC members is at the centre of the attack.
Maribeng says 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, violating the advertised post. The officer’s appointment 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.
The EFF in the province intervened to ensure that police opened a case and traced the suspects. However, there were challenges.
“The suspect that we identified was arrested the next day, and he was granted bail this week. Surprisingly, 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. They did rounds during the night, and my family members could finally sleep,” said Maribeng.
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.
Limpopo provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Hlulani Mashaba promised to give an update on the case.
Blouberg Local Municipality spokesperson Peter Moruthane said: “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 much on police investigations.”