NFP man arrested for KwaMashu killing

2012-10-13 16:32

A National Freedom Party (NFP) ward councillor, two of his sons and a bodyguard will appear in court tomorrow on charges of murdering a KwaMashu resident during political battles in the area.

Cebisile Shezi (31) was shot dead last Saturday afternoon soon after Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa visited a KwaMashu hostel to plead for calm.

Mthethwa’s visit was prompted by the abduction of IFP councillor Themba Xulu from his home in KwaMashu last Friday by five men dressed as police officers.

The abduction sparked outrage among IFP supporters living in the KwaMashu hostel, and Shezi was shot dead during running street battles.

NFP ward 39 councillor Mgezeni “Bhungu’’ Gwala, two of his sons and a man believed to be his bodyguard have been charged with the murder.

Xulu’s body was found in nearby Inanda on Sunday.

It has emerged that Xulu was out on bail at the time of his death over an arson attack on Gwala’s home.

Gwala’s son Zakheni (21) was shot dead two weeks ago. Nobody has been arrested for that crime.

Police have refused to name the four men arrested for Shezi’s murder, but the NFP itself went public about Gwala’s arrest.

Gwala is the proportional representation councillor for the NFP in KwaMashu. He was previously the IFP’s PR councillor for the area.

Gwlala left the IFP to join the NFP last February and his vacant seat was won by Xulu.

The KwaMashu hostel has been a hotbed of political violence since the NFP was formed nearly two years ago.

The killings continued this week, with an off-duty police officer shot dead near the hostel, apparently in retaliation for Xulu’s murder.

On Thursday, two people were shot and critically wounded in an attack on a hair salon in KwaMashu’s E Section, which is separated from the hostel and the rows of shacks that surround it by a railway line. City Press has learnt that some residents have fled KwaMashu to avoid the violence.

On Friday, NFP president Zanele Magwaza-Msibi confirmed that Gwala, a member of the party’s national working committee, had handed himself over to police after hearing he was wanted for Shezi’s shooting.

His son, Celimpilo, was arrested earlier in the week. Another son, Nhlanhla, was arrested along with Gwala and a man believed to be his bodyguard.

On Thursday, IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi addressed mourners at a memorial service for Xulu.

Buthelezi told reporters he wanted peace in the area, while behind him some supporters fired their weapons into the air.

The area was quiet on Friday and yesterday.

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