‘I’m not behind reign of terror’

2010-09-08 00:00

THE beleaguered Inkatha Freedom Party leader in the Estcourt area and Mtshezi Mayor, Maliyakhe Shelembe, has vehemently denied widespread allegations that he is behind the reign of terror that has gripped the IFP in the midlands town for the past two months.

In an interview with The Witness yesterday, Shelembe said he believes the allegations are being spread by people “who want to ridicule my good name and all the work I have done for my community”.

For the past two months, IFP leaders and members in the Estcourt areas of Mtshezi and Imbabazane have been living in fear following the mysterious assassination of several leaders and active IFP members.

The murders are believed to be linked to an internal feud within the organisation.

IFP leaders in the area, who did not want to be identified, say they are living in fear as they don’t know who will be the next target in the ongoing assassination spree.

Two IFP leaders were killed in the Mbabazane area last week, including the IFP constituency chairperson there, Zama Mkhwanazi.

He is yet to be buried.

Violence in the area prompted the MEC for Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu, to visit the area in July in an attempt to identify the instigator and motive behind the gruesome killings.

During Mchunu’s visit, members of the community briefed him on the situation, fingering Shelembe as the main person behind some of the attacks.

“I was overwhelmed with anger when [name withheld] publicly said I was behind some of the killings. What angered me most is the fact that some of the people killed were close to me.

“The eMabhanoyini IFP branch chairperson, Sbusiso Mnikathi, and Mtshezi municipality worker Smangele, who sometimes used to work at my office, are some of the people close to me who have been killed. I believe God will answer for me one day for these allegations levelled against me,” Shelembe said.

He believes there is a conspiracy aimed “at demonising me in the eyes of the community in an attempt to wipe out all the good work I have done for the local people”.

The IFP leader and Okhahlamba Mayor Vikizitha Mlotshwa recently faced removal from their positions as mayors by the IFP.

Shelembe said he is not immune from the reign of terror “as some vehicles with armed occupants had been seen around my residence at eMabhanoyini”.

Mchunu’s spokesperson, Kwanele Ncalane, confirmed that the MEC set up a task team to investigate possible interventions by his department to calm the situation. Hesaid the task team is still compiling the report on its findings in the area.

Mchunu has appealed to community members to help the police, saying that “the perpetrators are known”.

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