Two dead in new ANC KwaZulu-Natal killings

Two ANC leaders have been gunned down in separate incidents in KwaZulu-Natal since the weekend, sparking fears that the drop in political killings in the province may have been temporary.

Police officials said two men fired more than 20 bullets at Mtubatuba councillor and ANC chief whip Phillip Mkhwanazi, who is also an induna at Khula village in St Lucia.

Mkhwanazi, who was also one of only five black tour operators in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, was attacked at about 11am on Monday while he was waiting outside his home for his car to be repaired.

His killing followed that of Thengazakhe Maphanga, a former Inkatha Freedom Party councillor and community leader in the Dukuduku forest area next to Khula village. Maphanga was shot on May 2.

According to the police, the two men had approached Mkhwanazi and asked for proof of residence documents from him and then opened fire on him. They took his cellphone and fled the scene.

No arrests have been made in connection with his killing.

Also on Monday, an eThekwini ANC Youth League branch secretary, Thamsanqa Gcabashe, was shot dead at the home of another youth league member in the Hammarsdale area.

Gcabashe, who led the Ward 91 branch in the west of the city, died about 20 metres from his family home, according to a source in the area.

The youth league’s eThekwini regional secretary, Thinta Cibane, called on residents to assist the police in finding the killers of Gcabashe, who he described as a “community servant” in his ward.

“This is another reminder of the onslaught meted out against young revolutionaries in this part of the world. Another young man lies lifeless and we are left wondering what could have been the reason,” Cibane said.

He said the murder of Gcabashe appeared to have been an assassination. “We urge law enforcement agencies to investigate this senseless killing and to bring to justice those found to be implicated both in its planning and its execution.” 

Police comment on Gcabashe’s death was not available at the time of publication.

KwaZulu-Natal had been plagued by a wave of political killings, which began after the change in the ANC leadership in the province in 2015 and the build-up to the 2016 local government elections. 

These killings prompted the province to appoint the Moerane Commission of inquiry into the killings. The commission identified competition over council posts, tenders and resources to be a key driver of the violence, which appeared to have tapered off after a series of high profile arrests ahead of the 2019 provincial and national elections.

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