MEC calls for probe into 'explosion' at Pietermaritzburg city hall

23 July 2019 - 13:42 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

KwaZulu-Natal's MEC for co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has called for an urgent probe into what was described as an explosion at the Pietermaritzburg city hall on Monday. 

Panic and pandemonium broke out in the hall on Monday when what is believed to be a stun grenade was detonated. Hlomuka condemned the incident, which occurred shortly after Cogta-appointed administrator of the beleaguered Msunduzi municipality, Sbu Sithole, had presented a confidential report.

"This is an act of terrorism, pure and simple. We cannot allow unknown assailants to paralyse our local government institutions and intimidate our officials and the general public. What happened in Pietermaritzburg has no place in a civilised society," said  Hlomuka.

Hlomuka said the administration of the municipality would remain in place until there was a tangible improvement in Msunduzi's finances.

No injuries

The incident occurred around noon after Sithole had delivered a confidential turnaround strategy for the municipality, which was placed under administration in April. 

Sithole confirmed the incident with TimesLIVE.

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“I can confirm that there was a loud noise but I can't confirm whether it was a stun grenade. It happened after I had presented my report to a workshop of councillors.

"It is my understanding that police are investigating."

He said he later went to another meeting without further incident.

Provincial police spokesperson Capt Nqobile Gwala said the explosives unit was summoned to the scene. 

"Nothing was found and no case was opened. No injuries or damage were reported," said Gwala.