Western Cape social development MEC Albert Fritz and his spokesperson, Sihle Ngobese, have both undergone trauma counselling after being caught up in a shoot-out during an alleged botched armed robbery.
The incident happened over the weekend when Fritz was visiting Nyanga in Cape Town. Fritz’s bodyguards killed one man and wounded another during the brief firefight.
Fritz said he believed the three robbers, at least two of whom were armed, were trying to steal their cellphones.
He and Ngobese were accompanied by two bodyguards during the visit to Nyanga. The MEC was sitting in the back of the car when the three men approached. The driver was in the car, but Ngobese and the other bodyguard were standing outside.
Ngobese was talking on his phone. One of the robbers pulled out a gun and pointed it at the bodyguard who was outside the car.
“He cocked the gun, moving backward and every time he tried to shoot, the gun jammed. My protector threw his cellphone at the gunman, just to try and distract him. He grabbed Sihle’s cellphone and my protector’s,” said Fritz.
A shoot-out then ensued, leaving one robber dead and one wounded. Fritz said he will attend further counselling sessions. “Sleeping is still an issue. I had dreams about guns,” he added.
“Sihle also has difficulties sleeping and has bad dreams. But my protectors are okay.
“This is absolutely pure criminality. They were willing to sacrifice a life for a cellphone.”
Ngobese could not be reached for comment because his cellphone was still with the police as evidence. Despite the traumatic incident, Fritz hasn’t lost his sense of humour.
“I didn’t know that I’m loved by so many people. I received calls from lots of people, even from the ANC and overseas,” he said.
“It was as if I was seeing my funeral beforehand, just to know who will be crying for me and who will not.” – firstname.lastname@example.org