Neighbourly ’love’ ends in shooting

The head of security at an Eastern Cape government institute spent Christmas Day behind bars after being arrested for shooting a neighbour he accused of having an affair with his wife.

Stutterheim’s Dohne Agricultural Development Institute’s security head Monde Mlenze spent four days in jail after being accused of assaulting and later shooting and critically injuring his 34-year-old neighbour, Siphiwo Zondi, in what witnesses described as “a jealousy-

fuelled rage”.

Mlenze was released on R1000 bail on Wednesday after appearing in the local magistrate’s court on a charge of attempted murder.

The weekend shooting came after Mlenze accused his neighbour of having an affair with his wife, accusations which insiders claim came after he intercepted a text message conversation between the two.

The dramatic incident played itself out in Stutterheim’s Mlungisi location on Saturday afternoon, during which Mlenze is said to have used a knobkierie to assault his victim before shooting him.

Multiple sources yesterday confirmed “more than three shots” were fired at Zondi. One of these entered his chest near his heart and this is what landed him in hospital in a critical condition, according to his distraught mother, NoFurniture Zondi, who witnessed the shooting.

Police spokeswoman Captain Siphokazi Mawisa yesterday confirmed that Mlenze had been arrested and charged with attempted murder and possession of a firearm not licensed to him.

Mawisa said Mlenze was due to appear again in court on February 8.

Mlenze, who is also the ANC’s local Simanyene branch secretary, yesterday refused to comment on the incident.

“What you can do is go to court, where you will find all the information about this matter.

“But from my side, I’d rather not comment,” he said.

This is not the first time Mlenze has had a brush with the law in recent months.

In September, he was arrested and charged with pointing a firearm at his ANC comrade, Amahlathi municipality councillor Siyabulela Malawu. This incident occurred during a heated branch meeting where nominations for the ANC’s national elective conference – held earlier this month – were taking place.

After this incident, Mlenze’s licensed firearm was confiscated by police and taken for ballistic testing in Port Elizabeth.

According to a source, this has yet to be returned to him.

Malawu later withdrew his complaint against Mlenze after being persuaded to do so by his ANC comrades.

Malawu, who is the chairman of the same ANC branch, yesterday confirmed that he had withdrawn the case. He refused to talk more on the matter, saying he was “not at ease” speaking about the incident in the media.

As the head of security at Dohne, Mlenze is said to be responsible for the safekeeping of all state guns at the institution.

It is understood that he used a state firearm in the weekend shooting, which he was not authorised to use and which he had taken away from his workplace without permission, said a source at the institution.

The Dohne Institute falls under the Eastern Cape department of rural development and agrarian reform.

Department spokesman Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha said yesterday that the department would probe the matter before disciplinary measures could be undertaken.

“The department will investigate this matter to find out why and how a state gun was removed from the offices and used in matters outside the purpose it was procured for.

“Disciplinary action will be taken once wrongdoing has been identified,” he said.

Sicwetsha said the law must take its course on the matter, adding that his department would now remove all the guns that were under Mlenze’s custody as head of security at Dohne.

Zondi’s mother, NoFurniture, yesterday told the Daily Dispatch “more than three bullets” were fired at her son. He managed to run away, but later collapsed in a nearby street before being rushed to hospital “in a critical condition”.

“All we want now is justice,” she said. —

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