Bullet 'divine justice'

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

The Umjindi community in Mpumalanga has no sympathy for the wife of a local mayor who was hit by a rubber bullet.

Nontobeko Lukhele, wife of Umjindi Mayor Richard Lukhele, was struck on the cheek when police tried to disperse rioting during the public servants' wage strike last week.

She was working at the Mpumalanga government complex when striking workers allegedly threatened to force non-striking workers to join the strike.

James Nkambule, secretary of the Umjindi action committee that organised the protest march yesterday said: "The police made a mistake.

"They should have shot her in the stomach and killed her because her husband is making our lives a living hell here.

"I must confess we don't feel pity for her."

He claimed the mayor's wife was a director of a company to which the mayor had allocated land.

He alleged proper procedures were not followed.

"She is actually part of the problem. We don't doubt that the rubber bullet was divine justice for the couple," said Nkambule.

Another government worker, Sheba Nkosi, was shot in the leg during the rioting.

Both women received medical treatment later that day and the mayor's wife is said to be in a stable condition after being discharged.

Umjindi action committee is at the forefront of ongoing protests by members of the community who have accused the mayor of, among other things, nepotism, lack of service delivery and favouritism.

The community has vowed to oust the mayor, the speaker Monica Zulu and councillor Rebecca Manyisa in a few days.

It is not clear if their actions are sanctioned by any of the public service unions.