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Parliament concerned by Mthembu shooting

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Parliament’s presiding officers on Monday expressed concern at the shooting of ANC MP Jackson Mthembu during an armed robbery in Mpumalanga.

“We trust the law will take its course and that the perpetrators will be brought to justice as soon as possible,” Parliament said in a statement.

It said the shooting occurred at a particularly busy time in Parliament, when committees in both Houses were dealing with budget reviews, and on the eve of the finance minister tabling his medium-term budget policy statement.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, National Council of Provinces chairwoman Thandi Modise, and their deputies, wished Mthembu a speedy recovery.

Mpumalanga police said Mthembu was shot in the face while withdrawing money at an ATM on Mandela Street in Witbank on Sunday.

The office of the African National Congress Chief Whip, however, said Mthembu was shot close-range in the chest and admitted to the Emalahleni private hospital where he was in the intensive care unit.

“Luckily, he was able to drive himself to the close-by hospital, where is under medical supervision,” spokesman Moloto Mothapo said.

Earlier, a family member told The Citizen online: “It is not clear how many times he was shot, but he is in hospital as we speak. I think the shooting was politically motivated.”

The African National Congress cautioned those who claimed the shooting was politically motivated.

“The ANC cautions against any malicious and misleading statements being made to suggest a political motive in this case and calls on those making such statements to desist from flaming distrust and confusion,” spokesman Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.

He said the party had been in contact with Mthembu, who he said was in good spirits.

The ANC, the office of its Chief Whip in Parliament, and its alliance partner the Congress of SA Trade Unions expressed shock at the shooting.

“We salute his courage in driving himself to hospital and send him our best wishes for a speedy and full recovery,” Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said in a statement.

Mothapo said: “We are disturbed and infuriated by this mindless and callous act of criminality and implore the police to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that those savage thugs face the full might of the law.”

The Democratic Alliance and the National Freedom Party condemned the shooting. DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen said it was a “heartless act”.

NFP leader Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi said crime was getting worse in the country and everyone was vulnerable. Both parties wished Mthembu well. SAPA

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