From the news desk

MEC relates moments of Nyanga gun battle

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By Abubaker Abrahams

Western Cape Social Development MEC Albert Fritz says his near death experience will push him to do more for impoverished and vulnerable youth in the province. Speaking to VOC Breakfast Beat on Monday, Fritz relayed his harrowing experience being caught in a gun battle in Nyanga on Saturday morning, when he was accosted by an armed robber. One of the suspected robbers was killed and another seriously wounded after the minister’s security personnel opened fire. A by-stander was also injured in the crossfire.

“It creates in me a greater resolve to do more for our youth in providing opportunities for young people. They don’t need to take crime as an option in their lives. We really need to work hard to up people to a better level of social security,” he told VOC.

The MEC was in a car waiting to speak at a youth event when a man approached the vehicle and demanded his body guard hand over their cell phones. The shooting unfolded at around 9:40am outside the Assembly of God Church on Zwelitsha Drive, Nyanga.

“Suddenly a person came with a gun and pointed the gun at one of my protectors demanding his cell phone. In the meantime another one which they call a grabber in robbery language, [the grabber] then took the phone off my media person while my media person was speaking to someone about when they [the youth] are arriving,” Fritz related.

“Then my protector threw his phone away to distract the guy [robber] and when he was distracted, it gave my protector time to take his gun out. There was shooting to and fro and it was just a mad house. I was just lying flat on the back seat of the car.”

During the fierce gunfight, Fritz spokesperson Sihle Ngobese then pulled the Minister from the car, which was in the direct line of fire, and evacuated him into his own car. He then fled the scene to the Nyanga police station.

Fritz said the incident is a sign of lawlessness in the area and why Nyanga is known as the “murder capital” in South Africa. When asked whether the robbery was politically motivated or sheer criminality, Fritz said crime was a normal thing in the area and was “opportunism”.

“That morning just before us they robbed four women from their cell phone. The afternoon at 3pm another man was robbed and stabbed to death about 20 meters away from where we were robbed,” explained Fritz.

Fritz’s protectors are reported to be recovering well after receiving treatment for trauma after the incident. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is investigating the incident. VOC



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