In the early morning hours of March 6, the 27-year-old (the BBC reports he's 26 while the AP reports his age to be 27) was pulled from his bike by three assailants who began to saw into the multi-sport athlete's legs.
Gwala's athletic sponsor Sue de la Porte confirmed that the initial motive for the attack appeared to be robbery.
Dennis Jackson‚ director of the Elite Athlete Development programme, of which Mr Gwala is part, said it was "bizarre", even in the context... After the attackers fled, Gwala crawled to a road and flagged down a passing vehicle to take him to a hospital, Jackson said to the newspaper.
Durban is located on South Africa's coast.
But instead of taking his items, the men reportedly dragged him to a private area where they tried to saw off his legs.
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"The suspects fled the scene when they noticed someone was coming and the victim was assisted by security guards in the vicinity", said police spokesperson Nqobile Gwala, no relation to the athlete. They kept on cutting and when they got to the bone, because the saw was not that sharp, the saw got stuck.
"I haven't quite got to grips with exactly what happened", Jackson said, according to TimesLive. We don't know yet how far they went in. He became an athlete after overcoming drug and alcohol addictions, Jackson said.
"All we know is that Mhlengi is alive and he is talking and he is under medical care. Absolutely disgusting! How safe are we on SA roads?"
The young athlete from Ndwedwe, KwaZulu-Natal, has a promising sporting career and has already competed in two global triathlons. Triathlons feature swimming, cycling and running.
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