Politics suspected as 'stun grenade' detonated at Pietermaritzburg city hall

22 July 2019 - 16:01 By Orrin Singh
A stun grenade was reportedly detonated at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on Monday.
A stun grenade was reportedly detonated at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on Monday.
Image: Jackie Clausen

Panic and pandemonium broke out at the Pietermaritzburg city hall on Monday when what is believed to be a stun grenade was detonated.

According to DA councillor Ross Bryn Strachan, city administrator Sbu Sithole was  delivering a confidential turnaround strategy for the beleaguered Msunduzi municipality, which was placed under administration in April. 

Strachan said the incident occurred around noon.

"I was probably not more than 5m from the door. It was quite scary – who knows what's next."

He said a state of confusion and panic followed what he has described as an act of sabotage due to the factions within the ANC. 

"It happened so quickly – there was a bit of confusion to begin with. I thought it might have been an electrical explosion and then we could smell that sort of gunpowder smell. People thought it may have been gun shots but then we saw [something] reminiscent of what looked like a stun grenade.

"It's definitely politically orchestrated," he said.

Strachan said the public safety unit within the city was incapacitated due to the fact that most of the city's firearms had been confiscated in relation to investigations into political killings. 

"Our municipal security weren't aware of people coming in and leaving – no one knows who's responsible – we're in the dark of what the actual story is," he said. 

Neither the city nor Sithole could be reached for comment. Police didn't respond to queries at the time of publishing.  

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