Ward councillor fears for his life

A visibly shaken councillor Monde Nqulwana talks to a relativeasking about his family’s safety after they were robbed at gunpoint.

An ANC councillor from Khayelitsha, Monde Nqulwana, is living in fear after four armed unknown intruders broke into his house in the early hours of Friday October 9, demanding money and valuable items.

The criminals held the family at gunpoint while one of them kept threatening to kill Mr Nqulwana a number of times.

They broke the burglar gate but struggled for some time to break the door. After 10 to 15 minutes of battling to break the door, using a crowbar, the door eventually gave way.

The armed intruders demanded that Mr Nqulwana gives them his bank PIN number.

They withdrew an initial amount of R2 000 from his bank account at an ATM in Site C.

Shortly after that the criminals transferred money via ewallet from the ATM and emptied his bank account, leaving him with only R97.

When Vukani visited the family, Mr Nqulwana was fitting a new door. Shocked family and friends gathered at his house.

Mr Nqulwana said the incident occurred around midnight and the criminals took about 20 minutes to get inside the house. He said they first broke the burglar gate before breaking the door.

He said it was horrifying to see his family pleading for help while he had no idea what to do.

Mr Nqulwana said when the criminals were breaking the door he was trying to escape through the roof but was not able to.

“They demanded bank cards and I told them I don’t know where they are. One of them said look in the clothes he was wearing on the day, the blue jeans and blazer, and found them. They instructed me to buy airtime, using the bank app so that they could see that the PIN that I gave them was correct.

“I simply cooperated because I did not want to lose my life. They told me that they had been sent to kill me. And they told me that it has been quite sometime now that they’ve been trying to find out exactly where I live. I can’t rule anything out at the moment but if you put the pieces together, it clearly shows that these men had been following me the whole day – to the extent that they knew exactly the clothes that I was wearing on the day,” he said.

Mr Nqulwana said they opened his car and searched it thoroughly and took R400 that was in the car.

He said he has a panic alarm in the house which was installed by the City of Cape Town.

When the panic alarm was installed, he said he was informed that law enforcement officers would respond within at least 10 minutes of the panic alarm being activated. However, he was shocked and confused that no one from law enforcement responded.

He said while the criminals were trying to break into his house, his children and wife were screaming and crying for help and no one came.

He said judging from what the criminals were saying he believes there is a political motive behind the armed robbery.

“I can’t be safe anywhere now but a person’s life is in the hands of the Creator.

“If the elections or candidate selections were to be tomorrow I was going to say no. I don’t know where this comes from. But I trust my ward leadership and I can’t associate them with this if it is politically motivated. For the safety of my family, I think it is best that I move away from politics. My wife and children are traumatised.

“I will serve the remaining term and I don’t see myself coming back,” he said.

Mr Nqulwana said this is not the first time that he had been robbed and attacked in his house. He said similar incidents occurred last year and in 2018 as well.

He said he just hopes that the police will be able to catch and arrest whoever is behind the attack.

City of Cape Town, speaker, Dirk Smit, said the City council is not responsible for councillors’ safety and there is a limit to the assistance that council can provide for all councillors in this regard.

Such mechanisms usually include the installation of a panic button at a councillor’s home or office, upon the advice of the City’s VIP unit, following a threat assessment.

But he said the onus remains on the councillor to report the matter to SAPS for investigation, and to improve security measures at their private homes by upgrading their security as many other ordinary South African citizens are required to do, in order to safeguard their homes and families. However, Mr Smit said in this instance it was discovered that the panic button at Mr Nqulwana’s house was faulty and would be fixed.

Khayelitsha police station spokesperson, Constable Lowellan West, said a case of house robbery had been opened at the station. He said there have been no arrests yet.