IFP feud claims its third victim

2010-09-02 00:00

INTERNAL strife within Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in Estcourt is believed to be the motive behind the killing of IFP Imbabazane constituency chairperson Zama Mkhwanazi (35), who died in a hail of bullets on Tuesday morning.

His deputy, Slibaziso Jiyane, said Mkhwanazi was on his way to work in Estcourt with three passengers in his car when they were ambushed by gun-wielding assailants just after passing Wembezi township.

Jiyane said Mkhwanazi died on the scene while two of the three passengers were seriously injured. They were taken to the local hospital and later transferred to an undisclosed Pietermaritzburg hospital.

The other passenger who was Mkhwanazi’s bodyguard, escaped unscathed from the ambush.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Phindile Radebe confirmed that a murder and two attempted murder cases are being investigated by police in Estcourt.

No arrests have been made while police attempt to identify the motive behind the killing.

Jiyane said they suspect the killing is linked to feuding factions within the IFP. One faction is backing the party’s national chairperson Zanele Magwaza-Msibi and the other is behind general-secretary Musa Zondi to take over leadership after IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi steps down.

“There is no doubt that Zama’s murder is a great loss to the IFP as he was still a young, vibrant and a hardworking leader.

“Although there are differences within the IFP, we cannot guarantee that his murder is linked to that strife. But he was a strong backer of Prince Buthelezi and believed that the only capable leader of the IFP is the prince. We do not talk about the ‘Friends of VZ’ here in Mbabazane,” Jiyane said in an apparent reference to supporters of Magwaza-Msibi.

Mkhwanazi is the third IFP member to have been killed in the Estcourt area since the leadership squabbles within the IFP became violent. IFP chairperson in eSigodlweni Sbu Mnikathi was shot dead in July. His murder happened on the same day that uMtshezi constituency secretary Mthembeni Majola was seriously injured after his car was sprayed with bullets.

At the beginning of last month, Simangele Khumalo, a staunch Magwaza supporter and uMtshezi municipality employee, was shot dead at his home in Estcourt. No arrests have been made so far.

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