‘My father, the monster’ served no jail time after killing my mother: McIntosh Polela


In his memoir Polela relates how his father killed his mother, Delisile Shezi, but served no jail time.

Now the same man has allegedly terrorised his second wife, Thulisile, shooting at her and her three children in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, on Sunday.

“Once I was told [of the shooting on Sunday] all the memories came flooding back,” Polela said.

“It is shock. You do not even have time for emotions; you do not have time to react because of shock.”

Polela’s other half-brother, Siyabonga Nzimande, 40, said the family had been contacted by people in the Danskraal area who asked that his father’s earth-moving equipment and a car, which had been left there, be collected.

Along with their mother, the three siblings collected the equipment and the car and were approaching their home in Watersmeet when they encountered him.

“He demanded to know who gave us permission to take his property and an argument ensued between him and my mother. Enraged, he pulled out a gun and started shooting at us,” Nzimande said.

The family took cover behind the vehicles as, according to Nzimande, the father, 65, sprayed bullets at them but failed to hit anyone.

“He was about to shoot my brother, Senzekahle, 23, in the head but Senzekahle turned and was hit in the right cheek.

“He was reloading [his six-shot .38 revolver] for the third time when my other brother tackled him to the ground.

“Bystanders came to our help to restrain him while waiting for the police to arrive,” Nzimande said.

 He said the police arrived two hours later and arrested his father.

Senzekahle Nzimande was treated at a hospital and discharged.

Nzimande said the gun used by his father belonged to his mother and had been missing for almost two years. The family did not know what had happened to it.

KwaZulu-Natal provincial police spokesman Captain Nqobile Gwala said a man had been assaulted by members of the public after the incident and was under police guard in hospital.

“A case of attempted murder and possession of an unlicensed firearm was opened at Elandslaagte police station. He will appear in the Ladysmith Magistrate’s Court as soon as he is discharged from hospital.”

Nzimande described his father as a violent man who terrorised the family whenever he came home after long absences.

“We grew up under horrible circumstances,” he said.

“Last month he drove into a tent packed with people attending a traditional ceremony, injuring several people, without any provocation. He is a violent man.”

In his 2011 memoir, Polela tells of how he and his sister, Zinhle, were plucked from a life of relative opulence in Durban and dumped with their impoverished relatives in rural KwaZulu-Natal when he was about five. His parents had mysteriously disappeared.

It was only in his adult life that Polela discovered the brutal truth about the death of his mother at the hands of his father and documented it in his memoir.

Polela told The Times that his father was given a suspended sentence for the murder of his mother.

He did not know the details of the murder because he was only four years old when it happened.

Yesterday, Polela said that his siblings were living in fear but he hoped that “help will come from the powers that be”.

He said his unrepentant father had always boasted about “paying his way out of anything”.

During his stint as a television journalist, Polela used his father’s surname but changed it to Polela when he joined the police as spokesman for the Hawks.

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