Councillor survives attack

Unknown people burnt the block of flats, targeting ward councillor Samkelo Sam's flat.

Langa ANC ward councillor Samkelo Sam is grateful to be alive.

The Ward 52 councillor survived an attack on Friday morning at around 2am when protesters came to his house and petrol-bombed it while he was inside. He managed to jump out through the back window.

Mr Sam, who is now in a place of safety, said he feared for his life. It is alleged that the demonstrators came in the early hours and gathered at his place before torching the house. On Monday morning he said he had lost everything in the fire.

“It was 2am when they threw a petrol bomb. Lucky enough I was alone and had to use the back window to escape. I ran to a neighbour to hide myself. Everything was gutted and I am left with a shirt and a track pants,” he told Vukani.

Mr Sam said he believed the attacks were connected to ongoing protests against him by residents. “They are talking about service delivery, electricity and uncollected garbage on the streets. But I guess the motive is bigger than that,” he said.

Some of his neighbours’ homes had also been damaged. One neighbour, who asked that her name not be used in the media, said they remained lying on the floor until they heard the police sirens. “It was horrible. We were dead scared and we could not go out for we did not know what was going to happen to us,” she said.

Another neighbour criticised the protesters. “How can people be so stupid not to think about other people? We know nothing but we were also on fire, for what?” she said.

Local area committee chairperson, Zweledinga Sweli, said community leaders had been instructed to step aside and that the enraged protesters had wanted the councillor to resign.

“There is a lot of issues regarding him. These zones have (overflowing) sewage that he does not care about. There’s also a garbage collection problem. The community feels he was not helping them in many issues. They also wanted to know the 2019/20 plan and the report of 2018/19. He is supposed to have four meetings with the community a year but to date he has had one. He must remember that as a leader you are leading people who have led and who are leaders,” he said.