Johannesburg – At a time when election-results fever gripped the country, an ANC councillor in Mohlakeng, West Rand, was rushed to hospital after his house was petrol-bombed.
Festus Matshogo, 58, was alone in the house when it was bombed on Sunday morning.
It was unclear why it was targeted.
Matshogo, whose four children were out with their mother, suffered severe burns to his face and body. He was admitted to hospital.
A few hours after the bombing, neighbours and police were still trying to piece together what happened.
A neighbour, who wished not to be named, said: “At 4am I heard a disturbing sound – an explosion similar to the ones you hear at the mines.
“I ran outside to see what was happening. There was broken glass and crushed brick pieces directly at my door,” he said.
The man also said that when he got to Matshogo’s house, he found the councillor struggling to open the front door. He managed to escape only when a side wall of the house collapsed.
“I helped him out and put him in my house. His face, arms and hands were burnt.
“I went back to his house to see if there were any items of value that could be saved. There was nothing to be saved; everything was either in pieces or ashes,” he said.
The neighbour said he found three bottles of what looked like petrol in the house.
Matshogo’s relatives gathered at his neighbour’s house, and all of them said they were shocked by the incident.
There was rubble and broken glass across the street, and the explosion also damaged one of Matshogo’s neighbour’s houses.
Umkhonto weSizwe regional secretary in Mohlakeng, Terrence Bogale, described Matshogo as a man who took his duties seriously and was a devoted leader.
“The motive for the bombing is not clear, but if you are dedicated and good at what you do you are bound to step on people’s toes,” added Bogale.
Police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele said they were investigating the incident.
“Police can confirm that at least three unused petrol bombs were found at the scene.
“Preliminary investigation on the extent of the damage to the house also confirms the possibility that other explosives could have been used by the suspects,” said Makhubele.
He appealed to anyone who may have information to come forward and assist with the identification and apprehension of the criminals.