'He talked peace then killed him'
Minutes after I had interviewed National Freedom Party working committee member Mzonjani Zulu about the obscene number of lives lost in KwaMashu, he became a killer.
The insults and threats from IFP supporters, carrying pangas and spears, became louder as we walked out of the parking ground at the Ntuzuma Magistrate's Court, north of Durban.
"I must tell the police to hold back these people so the NFP can walk out," Zulu said, walking away from me towards the police officer in command.
Just 2m from me, an IFP supporter jumped in front of Zulu and raised his spear.
Like a cowboy in a western, Zulu took two steps back, drew a firearm from his jacket and fired two shots.
I could not believe what I was seeing.
There were screams as police officers, journalists and protesters ran in different directions.
When the spear-wielding IFP supporter, Siya Dlamini, fell to the ground, my mind went blank.
Though I have witnessed many shootings in my life, my heart began to race when I saw a pool of blood form around his head because I realised that I, too, was in the firing line.
I knew I had to run, but my legs turned to jelly and before I could squat to hide, policemen grabbed Zulu and raced him out of the area.
I watched the mayhem around me but could not move. Fear had taken control of my body.
I could see terrified faces peering from classroom windows in the school next to the court.
Women and men were on the ground, their hands over their heads. There were people under cars and behind trees, and TV news crews were caught between capturing the drama and running for their lives.
Soon the screams of fear became screams of grief.
IFP supporters realised Dlamini was dead. Some had gone to his body. Others carried a woman who had fainted at his side to a nearby car.
"Siya," the IFP supporters shouted.
NFP members quickly retreated to the court grounds.
Police cordoned off the area and Dlamini's body was covered. The smell of blood hung in the air.
People were whispering and I got the sense that battle lines had been drawn. The IFP and NFP supporters were separated by the crime scene.
Zulu sat in the back of a police vehicle in the court grounds and looked towards Dlamini's body.
Ironically, just moments before shooting Dlamini, Zulu had told me: "Too many lives are being lost because of people's hatred."
He had said: "The killings in KwaMashu have been going on for some time and the NFP has buried so many people. I can't understand why an NFP member was arrested for the Saturday killing because he was with us with [Police Minister] Nathi Mthethwa at the meeting to discuss the killing.
"Police have not been doing any investigation into the number of people who have lost their lives here and are just acting on any information that they get. Too many lives are being lost because of people's hatred. Since we left the IFP, too many people, especially members of the NFP, are being killed."
Crime scene investigators and members of Zulu's party spoke to him as he sat in the police van. He continued just staring ahead.
When the cover was removed from Dlamini's body women sobbed. Curious pupils moved nearer to their school fence.
After the body was taken away, fear again filled the air when IFP supporters refused to leave because they wanted to catch a glimpse of Zulu.
IFP national organiser Mfanje Mbango spoke softly, begging angry IFP supporters still carrying weapons to go home.
But they waited until the police van carrying Zulu left the court.
A group covered the blood in the road with soil.
Minutes later, a refuse-removal truck arrived, children walked home from school and tuck shops were busy again. - Additional reporting Nivashni Nair