ANC stal­wart, 87, crit­i­cal af­ter vi­cious home at­tack

In­trud­ers beat frail Nocwaka La­mani for cash, bank cards

The Herald (South Africa) - - Front Page - Gareth Wil­son and An­gela Daniels [email protected]­soblack­star.co.za

An 87-year-old wheelchair­bound for­mer ANC MP is in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion in hospi­tal af­ter she was badly beaten dur­ing a rob­bery at her New Brighton home.

Just 24 hours af­ter the bru­tal at­tack on Nocwaka La­mani, Her­ald pho­tog­ra­pher Brian Wit­booi and re­porter Naz­iziphiwo Buso were robbed by three knife-wield­ing men just me­tres away from her home in Rula Street, which they had been head­ing to­wards.

Po­lice spokesper­son Cap­tain An­dre Beetge said La­mani had been at­tacked in­side her house at mid­day on Tues­day, af­ter her 49-year-old care­giver left to go to the shop.

The care­giver was gone for about 40 min­utes.

“At least two men en­tered the house shortly af­ter the care­giver left,” Beetge said.

“They found [La­mani] in the bed­room and threat­ened her, de­mand­ing money.”

La­mani was in bed at the time of the at­tack.

Beetge said the men had as­saulted her se­verely, hit­ting her in the face and up­per body.

“Her purse con­tain­ing cash and bank cards was taken by the sus­pects be­fore they fled.”

Asked how they had gained en­try, Beetge said: “It is al­leged that the se­cu­rity gate [on the front door] was closed, but not locked.”

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice, while La­mani had only seen the two men in the bed­room, there were thought to have been more in the house.

“The care­giver re­turned at about 12.40pm and found [La­mani] cry­ing and beaten.

“She was rushed to hospi­tal by am­bu­lance.”

La­mani was still in the St Ge­orge’s Hospi­tal in­ten­sive care unit on Wed­nes­day due to the sever­ity of her in­juries.

Beetge said that as a re­sult of her con­di­tion, de­tec­tives had not yet been able to take a state­ment from her.

Her fam­ily de­clined to com­ment, say­ing they were still too trau­ma­tised.

La­mani’s son, Xhanti, said the fam­ily needed some space.

When Wit­booi and Buso parked in Rula Street at mid­day on Wed­nes­day, a man walked up to their bakkie, and asked whether he knew Buso and if they were lost.

Wit­booi said that, within sec­onds, two other men rushed up to the ve­hi­cle – one to the driver’s side where he was seated and the other to the pas­sen­ger side where Buso was.

Buso said the men had opened the car’s doors, which were un­locked as they had been about to climb out, and de­manded their phones.

Buso gave the door a hard shove, knock­ing over the man on her side, and jumped out.

“I jumped right over him and ran,” she said.

“I did not even know where I was go­ing.”

Buso raced to a nearby house, where a woman pro­vided her with a phone to call for help.

Mean­while, Wit­booi was fend­ing off the knife-wield­ing thugs, one of whom tried to stab him.

“I just said ‘no bru, don’t stab me’,” a badly shaken Wit­booi said.

The men stole Wit­booi’s cam­era and equip­ment, phone and lap­top be­fore run­ning off.

Wit­booi then went search­ing for Buso and they, and a se­cu­rity guard sent from The Her­ald to help, even­tu­ally met up.

Eastern Cape ANC sec­re­tary Lu­lama Ngcukay­i­tobi said the party strongly con­demned the at­tack on La­mani.

“The at­tack on cadre Nocwaka La­mani, a vet­eran of our move­ment and a mother to many ANC cadres, is un­be­liev­able,” he said.

He said it de­fied be­lief that peo­ple would at­tack el­derly women, whom he de­scribed as “al­most de­fence­less souls”.

“This act is so bar­baric and sense­less. It needs to be con­demned in the strong­est pos­si­ble words,” Ngcukay­i­tobi said.

“Peo­ple should have ap­pre­ci­ated and re­spected the 16 days of ac­tivism against vi­o­lence on women.

“We wish her a speedy re­cov­ery and wish the po­lice can in­ves­ti­gate the cir­cum­stances of the at­tack.”

Moth­er­well clus­ter com­man­der Ma­jor-Gen­eral Dawie Ra­bie has or­dered the spe­cial­ist Se­ri­ous Vi­o­lent Crime Unit to take over the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

"Crimes com­mit­ted against the el­derly should be seen as crimes com­mit­ted against the whole com­mu­nity,” Ra­bie said.

He said the safety of the el­derly should not just lie with care­givers and fam­i­lies, but with com­mu­ni­ties as a whole.

“We are still in the 16 Days of Ac­tivism of No Vi­o­lence Against Women and Chil­dren, which also in­cludes the safety and se­cu­rity of the el­derly.

“We are call­ing on our com­mu­ni­ties to take care of the el­derly and, where crimes are com­mit­ted against them, to as­sist the po­lice in iden­ti­fy­ing the cul­prits.”

Ra­bie urged any­one with in­for­ma­tion re­lat­ing to the at­tack on La­mani to con­tact Cap­tain Jerome Mackay, at 071-4752015.

‘The care­giver re­turned and found [La­mani] cry­ing and beaten’ An­dre Beetge

PO­LICE SPOKESPER­SON

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