IFP strife leaves two dead

2011-01-14 00:00

TWO young lovers — a 28-year old taxi driver and his 21-year old girlfriend — have become the latest victims of on-going IFP internal strife that has engulfed the Estcourt area from last year.

Mduduzi Mbatha and his girlfriend Zakithi Ziqubu were shot dead by unknown assailants at Mbatha’s house in the eMabhanoyini area of Estcourt at midnight on Wednesday.

Local people believe the attack is linked to the strife between those who support IFP national chairperson Zanele Magwaza-Msibi as IFP leader and those who want IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi to continue leading the party. About six people have died in Estcourt as a result of the conflict.

Expelled former IFP mayor of uMtshezi, Maliyakhe Shelembe, who is renowned a staunch Magwaza-Msibi supporter, comes from the eMabhanoyini area.

Mbatha’s mother, Mkhosi Zamisa (52) said they heard three gunshots coming from the direction of their son’s one-bedroomed house at the homestead.

“We all woke up and outside we saw people jumping the fence. When we went to check at Mduduzi’s house we found him lying on the floor between his bed and the wall, dead. His girlfriend Zakithi, who had paid him a visit for the night, was lying on the bed bleeding from a bullet wound in the arm and back.

“When I came in, she asked me to lift her up and take her outside as she was feeling hot. I was so shocked, I could not do that. Neighbours helped to take her out. An ambulance came two hours later and she was certified dead on arrival at the Estcourt hospital,” Zamisa said.

Zamisa said although Zakithi was still alive and talking when they reached her, she could not identify the attackers.

Asked whether her son had received any threats prior to the attack, Zamisa said Mduduzi had received a number of threats and had survived an attack in October last year while travelling with his taximan boss Sizwe Majola.

“Just a day before he was attacked, he told us he had received threats from certain people who told him to stop driving Majola’s taxi or face the consequences.

“Now hours after those threats he is lying at the mortuary,” Zamisa said.

When The Witness visited the eMabhanoyini area yesterday, the area was tense and locals said many people had left the area in anticipation of more violence.

Mlekeleli Ziqubu (23) Zakithi’s elder brother said they were shocked when they were phoned by the Mbathas telling them about attack on his sister and her boyfriend.

Mlekeleli said Zakithi was not a politically active person but her boyfriend was, and was believed to be a staunch supporter of the pro-Buthelezi faction.

Shelembe said he had no details about the incident as he had been away from the eMabhanoyini area for the past few days.

IFP uMtshezi constituency secretary Mthembeni Majola, Shelembe’s arch-rival in the area, visited the Mbatha family yesterday and said the IFP would support the family with funeral arrangements.

Majola, who is at present wheel-chair bound after surviving an assassination attempt late last year, appealed to police to apprehend the killers of IFP supporters in Estcourt and said there was no doubt that Mbatha and Ziqubu’s killings are linked to the on-going IFP strife in the area.

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