NFP leader shot dead, comrade critical

2013-02-05 00:00

A NATIONAL Freedom Party (NFP) leader in the Mlovu administrative area, Ulundi, was killed and his comrade is in a critical condition after unknown gunmen shot at them over the weekend.

The Ward 4 NFP chairperson Themba Timothy Zulu Jiyane (63) and Thuthukani Masondo (24) were ambushed by three gunmen near the former’s home on Saturday evening.

The NFP was not sure whether the attack was political or business motivated, as Jiyane had business interests in the taxi industry.

NFP Ulundi constituency secretary Senzo Shwala said Jiyane, who was also a taxi owner, was with Masondo when three unidentified men approached them and fired several shots towards them.

“The attackers fled the scene with his [Jiyane] licensed firearm and cellphone, leaving him for dead and Masondo seriously injured,” Shwala said.

To ensure Masondo’s security, Shwala would not name the hospital he was taken to.

Shwala alleged that Jiyane had been receiving death threats last year. “He received death threats for the whole of last year, but he never mentioned the people who were making those threats.”

Jiyane’s killing happened two days after he had returned from Johannesburg, where he had gone to fix one of his two minibus taxis.

His son Sfiso said that, having watched the Afcon match between Ghana and Cape Verde in the evening, his father went outside and he saw him walking out of the gate talking on his cellphone.

“After a while I heard gunshots, but I didn’t make a big deal out of this until a relative of Masondo came to our home and informed us about what had happened. I ran out and down the road and found my father in a pool of blood,” said Sfiso.

He said he can’t figure out what could have led to the shooting, but that his father’s firearm and cellphone were taken.

“My father worked for the betterment of this community … This is sad given that the community also liked him because of his kindness to people,” he said.

NFP leader Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi called on the police to speed up their investigation on the matter. “It is clear that there are people who are on a campaign to assassinate our leaders across the province of KwaZulu-Natal. We are worried that this scourge is now spreading to Ulundi as Zulu is the first person to be killed in the area. We call on police to investigate and arrest all those responsible for this killing,” kaMagwaza-Msibi said in a statement.

Police spokesperson Colonel Vincent Mdunge said the motive for the killing was unknown at this stage, and that Mahlabathini police are investigating cases of murder and attempted murder.

No arrests have been made at this stage.

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