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Police accused of being complicit in 'attack' on KZN whistle-blower Thabiso Zulu

Thabiso Zulu.
Thabiso Zulu.
Image: Supplied

Violence monitor Mary de Haas has written to the Mountain Rise police station commander demanding answers relating to allegations of police complicity in violence and harassment against Thabiso Zulu, a close friend of slain ANC Youth League secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, and others.

Zulu, who blew the whistle about alleged corruption in the Umzimkhulu local municipality, was arrested in July 2020 on “incitement to commit violence” charges.

In her letter sent on Wednesday, De Haas said it had emerged that on Saturday, at an ANC community meeting relating to the selection of a candidate in the local government elections, a potential candidate and a witness in the criminal case in which the sitting councillor is charged, was stabbed and seriously injured in the presence of the police, and the police present allegedly failed to intervene.

“Mlungisi Zondi, the stabbing victim, is in a serious condition in hospital,” she said.

She said there were “long-standing, serious allegations” about some members of the station colluding with the councillor to suppress dissent in the area.

“Their failure to act on Sep. 11 appears yet another manifestation of this collusion, as do the subsequent events I now detail, to which I request you to give urgent attention.”

She said before the arrival of Zondi, Zulu and others had gone to the meeting to hand out fruit and bottled water. Zulu had purchased the items for elderly people who had been at the meeting all day.

De Haas said as they were leaving, the councillor's supporter allegedly attacked Zulu, causing him to fall and sustain visible injuries.

“The attacker was restrained by Zulu’s companions but, as they were in the car to drive away, a female supporter threw a bottle of beer at a car and damaged it. On the next day, Sunday, Thabiso Zulu, having seen a doctor and obtained the J88, opened a case at Alexandra Road SAPS. 

“On Monday Sep. 13, police from your station went to Zulu’s home and were told by his mother that he had gone to address a meeting of senior ANC leaders in Gauteng, and that they could call him.

“In the light of what has since happened, I am extremely concerned about Zulu’s safety when he returns to KwaZulu-Natal,” she said.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Col Thembeka Mbele confirmed that the police were investigating the attack against Zulu.

“We can confirm that a case of common assault was opened at Alexandra road SAPS, after a 40-year-old man was allegedly assaulted by known suspects. The docket has been transferred to Mountain Rise SAPS for further investigation.”

She said no-one had been arrested yet for stabbing Zondi.

“The complainant alleged that on Sep. 11 at 4.30pm, he was outside Haniville Hall when he was assaulted and stabbed by two males. He sustained injuries to the back and was taken to hospital for medical attention.

“A case of assault with the purpose to inflict grievous bodily harm was opened at Mountain Rise SAPS for investigation and no arrests have been made.”

Mbele said the allegation of the police “being present and doing nothing” about the attack would be investigated.