Witness to councillor's shooting dies

2012-07-24 07:50
Wandile Mkhize (File)

Wandile Mkhize (File)

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Durban - Hopes of finding answers to the murder of ANC councillor Wandile Mkhize have faded with the death of a witness wounded in the attack.

Nhlakanipho Shabane, 24, succumbed to his injuries around midnight on Monday, having been in a coma for more than three weeks.

Shabane and Mkhize were shot several times outside the slain councillor’s Manaba home on June 30. Mkhize, just back from the ANC’s policy conference in Gauteng, died at the scene.

Shabane survived, but remained in a critical condition. His cousin, Lungisa, said the family was having a difficult time coping with their loss.

“We were all hoping that he would recover. He was the eldest child and was very responsible. He took care of his mother and siblings and his toddler son from a previous relationship.”


Lungisa drove Shabane’s parents to the hospital after they had received news of his death just after midnight.

“Nhlakanipho was in a coma ever since the shooting and only his parents were allowed to see him.”

Hibiscus Coast Municipality, where Shabane was employed as an administrative clerk in the motor licensing office, expressed sadness at his death.

Spokesperson Simon Soboyisa said: “He has been a dedicated employee who exceptionally observed the Batho Pele principles as he was directly working with the public.” He added Shabane’s death was all the more devastating because he held a clue to the events on the night of the shooting.

The ANC’s secretary for the Lower South Coast, Mzwandile Mkhwanazi, said: “The young man’s death is very unfortunate. It would have been interesting to hear what he had to say about the shooting.”

Less than an hour before the attack, Mkhwanazi had dropped Mkhize at his home after returning from the ANC conference at Gallagher Estate in Johannesburg.

“Nhlakanipho and Wandile were good friends. He was waiting at Wandile’s house for him. The two of them went to buy supper and were shot when they returned,” said Mkhwanazi.

Mkhize was an ANC chief whip and an executive committee member of Hibiscus Coast municipal council.

Two cases of murder

Police are now investigating two cases of murder. Last week a suspect was arrested for the illegal possession of a firearm and was questioned in connection with the attack.

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Vincent Mdunge declined to comment on the progress of the investigations. The Witness has not established whether the suspect has been formally arrested and still in custody.

Nor has there been confirmation that the assassinations were politically motivated.

Mkhize was regarded as a loyalist of President Jacob Zuma. During a three-day summit in Durban last week, the tripartite alliance called for a national task team to investigate the killing of politicians, which has seen a resurgence in recent years.

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said the party was saddened by Shabane’s death. “As the ANC we are very angry at the assassination of our leaders. We are asking for national government to intervene and make sure these killings are investigated thoroughly and all cases are solved.”

Details of Shabane’s funeral are still to be confirmed. The municipality is arranging a memorial service for him on Thursday at the Port Shepstone Civic Centre.

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