College head ambushed

2010-02-09 00:00

THE rector of Midlands Community College in Nottingham Road, Msizi Buthelezi, was shot dead in an ambush on the Colenso road yesterday morning.

Unknown men opened fire with an AK47 assault rifle and a 9mm pistol.

Buthelezi’s car was riddled with bullets and he was killed instantly.

The 37-year-old Buthelezi, who lived in Colenso, was driving with his wife in their Opel bakkie from Colenso towards Ladysmith when they were attacked.

No valuables were stolen.

Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said the ambush was staged at Colenso Heights at about 7.45 am yesterday.

It is alleged that two or more gunmen waited for Buthelezi near the Ezakheni turn-off.

They are said to have opened fire on Buthelezi as his vehicle passed by.

The vehicle veered off the road and came to a standstill about 300 metres into the veld.

Buthelezi sustained a fatal head wound, while his wife escaped unharmed.

Spent AK47 rifle and 9 mm pistol cartridges were recovered at the scene.

The motive for the murder is not yet clear, but police have preliminarily ruled out hijacking.

“At this stage, the motive for the murder is not known, but investigations are ongoing,” said Zwane.

A source close to the family told Buthelezi was on his way to a meeting in Glencoe when the ambush occurred. She said they are puzzled by the attack.

“This whole thing is confusing because the deceased was not into politics. At work he was [on] good terms with the staff. Now what else can be the reason for his killing?” the source asked.

The education manager at the college, Candy Goodlad, said they were privileged to have worked with Buthelezi, a man she described as “honourable”.

“We are devastated that a young life could be taken with such cruelty. Buthelezi was one of our best directors and was loved by staff members. He was always fair when dealing with issues concerning his staff members and the college,” said Goodlad.

Buthelezi joined the college in 2006 as a director.

Community member and DA councillor Moira Grueneberg said Buthelezi’s killing is senseless.

“Hundreds of present and future students of our pro­vince will suffer as a result of this mindless and brutal slaying of Buthelezi, who in four years championed the success of the college to the highest level it has ever reached. My thoughts go out to his beloved wife, children, and the family of Midlands Community College,” Grueneberg said in a statement.

She said until the police and the defence force set up ongoing roadblocks widely for criminals and illegal weapons, more valuable lives such as Buthelezi’s will be lost.

Buthelezi leaves four children and his wife, Phindile, who was unable to speak to The Witness yesterday.

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