Johannesburg: A prominent member of South Africa's ruling party was shot in the chest during a robbery at an ATM in the country's east, the African National Congress said today.
Jackson Mthembu, a member of parliament and the party's former national spokesman, was shot in the country's eastern Mpumalanga province yesterday night, the party said in a statement.
Mthembu was shot at close range while at an ATM, where his bank cards were stolen, it said.
Mthembu is conscious and able to speak, spokesman Zizi Kodwa said today.
Mthembu was able to drive himself to a nearby hospital, and is receiving medical treatment in the intensive care unit of a local private clinic, the party said in its statement.
The party has dismissed any speculation that the shooting was politically motivated, and spokesman Kodwa described any such suggestions as "malicious and misleading."
Robbery with a weapon has increased by more than 11 percent in the last year according to South Africa's official crime statistics and at least 225 people out of a 100,000 were attacked from April 2013 to March 2014.
Mthembu is a senior member of the country's ruling party and serves in the ANC's national executive, one of the most powerful political organs in South Africa.
"We trust the law will take its course and that the perpetrators will be brought to justice as soon as possible," South Africa's parliament said in a statement.
The official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, wished Mthembu well.
The ANC's alliance partner, the Congress of South African Trade Unions demanded South African police find and arrest the attackers.