As women’s month draws to a close, three women have been gunned down and another is fighting for her life after two separate incidents in the province.
One woman was shot dead while another, shot and left for dead, was found crawling for help on the roadside at 10pm on Tuesday in Buffalo Pass near East London.
Provincial police spokesman Captain Khaya Tonjeni said this was after the husband of an ANC councillor allegedly opened fire on the women after one of them “defaulted” in paying a monthly kickback to the councillor for securing a public works department job for her.
The shocking details were given by a woman who survived the attack in a statement to the police before she was rushed to hospital, where she is fighting for her life.
The attacks on Tuesday night came after two women aged 65 and 67 were shot dead execution-style on Monday night in Mdeni Locality in Tsomo by two people posing as senior police officers from SAPS headquarters in Pretoria.
The slayings of the Tsomo women prompted Eastern Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga to say: “We are shocked and angered by the senseless murder of two elderly women last night in Tsomo. It is indeed sad to see that despite numerous awareness campaigns and interaction with communities regarding the safety of women and children, the SAPS is still called out to crime scenes where our elderly have been slain for no apparent reason.”
In Tuesday’s incident, the East London women – Nombiniso Ntwana, 54, and Bulelwa Mpitipiti, 50 – were abducted and shot, and their bodies were thrown over a cliff on the narrow Buffalo Pass near the Buffalo Bridge.
A suspect had been arrested for murder and attempted murder, Eastern Cape police confirmed.
Mpitipiti died instantly from two bullet wounds to her head while Ntwana survived and crawled to the road, where she managed to flag down a passing traffic official.
Eastern Cape provincial police spokesman Captain Khaya Tonjeni said the officer saw Ntwana crawling on the roadside on the Buffalo River Bridge.
“Upon stopping to help he [the officer] discovered that the woman was shot and was still able to talk,” Tonjeni said.
“The traffic officer received a report from the victim that they were taken by the husband of a ward councillor in Reeston to Buffalo Pass bridge where they were both shot.”
The councillor’s phone rang unanswered yesterday. Several attempts to get comment from both victims’ families were unsuccessful yesterday.
Tonjeni said the victims were both traditional healers who were taken by the suspect, who allegedly pretended he needed help from them.
“They were taken by the suspect under false pretenses that he was hiring them to cleanse a home in Ncerha Village.”
According to Tonjeni, the attack came after Ntwana allegedly failed to pay R2000 a month in kickbacks.
“Further clues are being followed and more arrests are expected. No firearm was recovered as yet. A murder and attempted murder case is to be opened,” he said.
Tonjeni said the injured Ntwana told police in a statement that the attack came after she defaulted on monthly kickbacks of R2000 to the councillor for securing her employment as a supervisor for the Public Works Department’s extended public’s work programme (EPWP) where she earns only R3700 a month.
Tonjeni said the councillor, a supervisor at the EPWP, left the post after last year’s local government elections when she was sworn in as councillor.
She had allegedly offered her post to Ntwana in exchange for R2000 per month.
Tonjeni said Ntwana had been shot in the stomach and arm.
Meanwhile, police have called for the public’s assistance in the incident that happened in Tsomo.
Anyone with information is requested to contact their nearest police station or Crime Stop at 08600-10111.