Another ANC leader dies

2012-07-12 00:00

THE ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has lost another committed public representative, the second from the South Coast in as many weeks.

ANC MP Mandla Mbili died in a car accident on the N2 near Lamontville outside Durban on Tuesday night, two days after he had joined thousands of mourners at the funeral of slain councillor Wandile Mkhize.

Police said yesterday they had opened a case of culpable homicide after Mbili allegedly lost control of his 4x4 and landed in a ditch.

“The deceased was alone in the vehicle and no other vehicles were involved in the accident,” said police spokesperson Colonel Vincent Mdunge.

The accident occurred at about 7.30 pm and Mbili died at the scene. Its cause was unknown at this stage, he said.

The ANC was quick to quash speculation that foul play may have been involved.

ANC South Coast chairperson Tolomane Mnyayiza told The Witness yesterday that Mbili (48) had survived two other accidents in as many years, one which had left him with a limp and another in which his car was written off.

“We see this as just an accident because he had been involved in two other accidents,” said Mnyayiza.

Mbili, who served as the ANC whip on Parliament’s influential standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) , was on his way home to uMgababa from the airport.

He had attended a meeting in Johannesburg earlier that day.

On Monday he had met ANC MP and national executive committee member Myami Booi at the Beverley Hills Hotel in Umhlanga, where they were later joined by axed police chief Bheki Cele, who was there for another meeting.

Booi yesterday described Mbili as a “good friend”.

“He came to see me at the hotel before he dropped off furniture at his new constituency office in Kok­stad.”

Mbili had recently been discharged from hospital after a car accident and was recovering, Booi said.

“We were talking generally about everything. The second transition, Wandile [Mkhize], Tokyo [Sexwale, everything … He loved Tokyo.”

Sexwale, the Human Settlements Minister and an ANC NEC deployee in KwaZulu-Natal, is generally thought to be heading the “Anyone But Zuma” lobby in the ANC.

However, Booi would not be drawn on this or whether President Jacob Zuma’s second term ambitions had been discussed.

Booi would only say: “It’s a fact that he [Mbili] appreciated Tokyo at the time. We had a long discussions about that issue.”

While Booi would not speculate on whether foul play might have been involved in the crash, he said: “I am very worried about the levels of killing in KZN.”

Booi said he had worked for “ a very long time in the then Natal” and understood how political violence had impacted on the province.

Three ANC leaders have died in a hail of bullets outside their homes in the past 16 months, including Mkhize, eThekwini regional secretary Sbu Sibiya and eThekwini councillor Wiseman Mshibe.

This prompted Zuma to warn mourners at Mkhize’s funeral this week that there were “dark forces” at play in the province bent on dividing the ANC and creating mistrust.

Cele said he had spent a lot of time at the Beverley Hills Hotel as he had told reporters during his recent press conference.

He had joined Booi and Mbili for a short time “and then left”.

Asked whether he believed there might be something fishy about Mbili’s accident, Cele said: “I’m a policeman. I don’t deal with suspicions. I deal with facts.”

Premier Zweli Mkhize, chairperson of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, said Mbili’s loss was especially sad as it came so soon after Wandile Mkhize’s death.

People had barely recovered from Mkhize’s death and now there was another leader from the same area who had lost his life, albeit under different circumstances.

Mkhize said Mbili’s death brought home the fact that many valuable lives were being lost on South African roads.

Inkatha Freedom Party MP Narend Singh described Mbili as a close friend and said he had driven past the accident and hadn’t realised it was he.

“His home is 10 minutes from mine in uMgababa. We always saw each other … we served on the same committee. His death was a great loss as he was always questioning fraud and corruption, ” said Singh.

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