WATCH: Slain councillor lived in fear

2017-07-07 13:45
Umgungundlovu Mayor and ANC regional deputy secretary Thobekile Maphumulo speaking at slain Richmond councillor Sifiso Mkhize.

Umgungundlovu Mayor and ANC regional deputy secretary Thobekile Maphumulo speaking at slain Richmond councillor Sifiso Mkhize. (Sabelo nsele)

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Slain Richmond councillor Sifiso Mkhize knew his life was under threat.

This revelation was made by his friend, Siminenkosi Ndlovu, during his memorial service held at Richmond Agricultural Hall on Thursday.

Fear over the safety of his former colleagues was a contentious issue on Thursday, with at least three speakers at the memorial service throwing the question out, “Who is next?”

One of the councillors even suggested a cleansing ceremony be done, saying the area was being haunted by those who had died during political violence that ravaged the area in the past.

The speakers also lambasted the fact that since municipal manager Sibusiso Sithole and deputy mayor Thandazile Phoswa were killed, there had been no arrests.

Mkhize died in a hail of bullets last week while he was on his way home from a community policing forum meeting.

Ndlovu, who is also council speaker, said Mkhize had on “numerous” occasions asked the municipality to increase security for its councillors.

“He knew his life was in danger. Even the day before he was killed, he did not take his car home because he suspected someone was following him.

“The next day he was killed on his way home,” he said.

Ndlovu labelled those behind Mkhize’s killing as selfish.

“Did they take time to think about by-elections before killing him? We have just came back from Nquthu by-elections where we lost. There was a recent by-election in ward 32 (Msunduzi) which we also lost.

“During the August elections, the opposition parties brought the fight to us. They contested very hard. I do not think these killers thought about that before killing him,” he said.

Community Safety and Liaison MEC Mxolisi Kaunda admitted police were finding it difficult to investigate the Richmond political murders.

“You people of Richmond know how to plan a murder. In these three murders in Richmond, there has been no arrests but when there was a killing of the speaker of Umzimkhulu, police managed to apprehend the killers within two days,” he said.

“Richmond is problematic.

“The thing is, there is that sense of fear which is ruling here. The problem is that all of you have guns, that is why you fear each other so much.”

Kaunda said the continued political killings in KZN had earned the province a bad reputation.

“We are a disgrace to other tribes. Even during the policy conference, comrades from the Eastern Cape were saying to me, the killings must stop now. I want to say, wherever these killers are hiding, we will find them,” he said.

ANC regional deputy secretary Thobekile Maphumulo said if the killings are not stopped, they might hinder service delivery in the area.

“All the administration staff would resign and no one will want to come and work in a municipality where there is no stability,” she said.

“What then will happen to service delivery? Then community members are going to start protesting.

“Enough is enough. We cannot keep on making newspaper headlines by killing each other. You will find out Mkhize was killed for two cents.”

Mayor Sibusiso Mchunu said the municipality’s councillors needed to be protected.

“A council is a council because of councillors. I do not know who will sit in council if you kill all the councillors. I do not know which direction this municipality is taking.”

Mchunu revealed that pamphlets saying Mkhize was killed because he was “talkative”, were being distributed in Richmond.

Mkhize will be laid to rest at Indaleni on Saturday.

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