State opens case of assault after reverend’s wife shot, wounded


A reverend’s wife who was shot in the leg at point blank range with live ammunition, allegedly by police, didn’t want to open a case against them.
But police watchdog body Ipid will investigate on her behalf anyway.
Nomsa Richards, 50, is now walking on crutches after being shot during a community protest against a ward councillor in Bathurst near Port Alfred recently.
Police spokesperson Captain Mali Govender confirmed a case had been opened with the police and was currently being investigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
“She didn’t open a case. She didn’t want to open a case. Police opened a case on her behalf and the state opened a case of assault. The docket has been given to Ipid.”
Speaking to the Dispatch, Richards said she had been caught in the crossfire between protesters and police.
On her way from a family event, she was standing at the far end of the protests as an onlooker when police started firing stun grenades.
“Kids from the streets started shouting ‘run, aunty run, police will shoot’. We ran to one of the open houses and hid behind a bed. Police broke down the door and then they started shooting at us. I don’t remember what happened next. I woke up in hospital.”
Richards spent two weeks in the Port Alfred Hospital. She said doctors found two bullets in her right leg, and another wound on her left leg indicated she had been shot with a rubber bullet.
Two other women were taken to hospital and discharged a day later, she said.
Resident Ntombivuyo Gayi said she collected bullet casings after the incident.
“We found these casings after Mrs Richards was taken to hospital,” Gayi said.
Govender said after hearing about the incident, the cluster commander sent detectives to the hospital to investigate.
“She told the police who had gone to see her in hospital that doctors advised her to open a case after the bullets had been taken out, so the state decided to open a case on her behalf,” she said.
The small village has been in chaos for several weeks with Freestone township residents demanding their councillor, Andile Malgas, be removed.
On Sunday, violent protests were sparked by the arrival of a motorcade of ANC agents hoping to electioneer. Nine people were injured and five arrested. Five ANC members and their families narrowly escaped after their houses were torched by angry residents. Efforts to speak to the municipality, mayor Phindile Faxi and ANC Sarah Baartman secretary Johannes Hopps were unsuccessful.
ANC provincial secretary Lulama Ngcukayitobi condemned the violence saying that the majority of the people had voted for ANC councillors in Bathurst because they wanted to strengthen democracy.
“Any violent conduct reverses all the gains. ANC councillors are legitimate leaders of our communities as per the mandate of the electorates. ANC structures and communities must protect and defend their public representatives and become more vigilant against destroyers of democracy.”
Ngcukayitobi said police should not be lenient with “disgraceful rogues posing as community leaders who advocate for destroying people’s houses and state property”.
Meanwhile Azapo spokesperson Chris Swepu said black on black violence and any violence should never be encouraged...

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