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Mbhashe councillor candidate’s car shot at

Nobody injured but Phumelele Methu fears political motive behind attack

Mbhashe municipality candidate Phumelele Methu was not in the car when the shooting took place in Mpame village, Bawu, in Elliotdale.
Mbhashe municipality candidate Phumelele Methu was not in the car when the shooting took place in Mpame village, Bawu, in Elliotdale. 
Image: 123RF/123RF Premium

An Eastern Cape ANC councillor candidate is living in fear after his car was sprayed with bullets in a shooting on Friday.

Mbhashe municipality candidate Phumelele Methu was not in the car when the shooting took place in Mpame village, Bawu, in Elliotdale. 

He said the car was being driven by a young man he had asked to drop off people who had been campaigning with him in the area.

“We were coming from a campaign trail and my car had loud hailers as we drove around drumming up support for the elections.

“After we finished the campaign trail, I asked him to deliver those who needed transport,” Methu said on Monday.

“I let him go home with the car as I was going to fetch it later.

“By 10pm I had not fetched it and I decided to get it the following day.

“I later received a call from the young man’s uncle letting me know that my car had been shot at.”

Methu said he then went to the uncle’s house and was told the young man had been approached by two “suspicious-looking” men who claimed to be looking for a tavern. 

“The car was parked outside the yard. He told them he would park it inside the yard before assisting them in their search for a tavern.

“While he was reversing my car, preparing to leave it inside the yard, the two guys left,” he said.

According to Methu, the young man, who was with a friend, then decided to leave his uncle’s house because he did not trust the two men.

He opted to take the car to his home, “a stone’s throw away” from his uncle’s house.

“When he was about 200m from his uncle’s house he spotted a van parked on the road facing the direction he was coming from.

“The young man and his friend heard people in the van saying: ‘There is the car [we are looking for]’,” Methu said.

“When he was close to the car, people from the van opened fire.

“I’m sure my car has more than 10 bullet holes. It’s clear that those people had intentions to shoot to kill.”

The young man then sped off, escaping unscathed.

He abandoned the car and fled on foot as he was being chased by the armed men.

“Anything could have happened; he had to prioritise his safety.”

Methu said during the candidate nomination process some people had been left disgruntled.

The incident concerned him, he said, as candidate councillors had been shot dead in KwaZulu-Natal ahead of the November 1 poll.

Methu said he did not rule out the possibility that the shooting could have been an assassination attempt.

“For now, it’s just my assumption.” 

Methu said there were rumours that a police van had been looking for a stolen vehicle and had opened fire on his car. 

​"I don’t know whether police have a right to just shoot, though.”

A villager told Methu there had been six people in the van, four of whom were in police uniform.

He questioned whether the two men who had been looking for a tavern were in the van.

“Even if some of them were in police uniform, that does mean they wouldn’t be capable of being involved in a hit,” he said.

“One cannot rule out the possibility that one of the disgruntled factions within the party was behind the shooting.

“My car had loud hailers and it was clear we were campaigning.”

Police spokesperson Brig Tembinkosi Kinana confirmed that police were investigating two cases of attempted murder after a shoot-out.

He said Methu had opened a case of attempted murder against the police, while police opened their own attempted murder case against the suspects involved in the shoot-out.

He was unable give more details on the case.

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