Another ANC man killed

2012-08-20 00:00

UMTSHEZI ANC councillor Jimmy Lembede was shot dead and his wife and five-year-old daughter wounded in a horror attack on Friday night by men allowed entry into their home because the family thought they wanted help.

Lembede’s son Nzuzo (11) — while not wounded in the shooting — nevertheless sustained serious burns after a pot filled with oil was struck by a bullet and toppled onto him.

Nzuzo, his mom, Busisiwe, and sister Nontando, were admitted to hospital where they were still recovering yesterday.

Lembede’s comrades believe the attack was politically motivated.

It comes mere days after a task team to investigate political killings in KZN received more muscle after a meeting between Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and political parties.

It comes amid fears that intra- and inter-party violence appears to have reared its ugly head once again in the province.

The Witness was able to establish last night that the Lembede family were in the kitchen when two people knocked on the door and entered the house. The strangers were offered chairs to sit, but remained standing.

Family members thought the men had come for proof of residence or for help from their local councillor. When Lembede, who had Nontando on his lap, rose to help the men, one of them drew a gun and opened fire.

Lembede was killed and Busiswe and Nontando were wounded.

The attackers then fled the scene. It was not clear whether they did so by foot or by car.

Busisiwe’s sister, Nelisiwe Thwala, from Ladysmith, told The Witness: “This is a painful thing to happen to the family as it happened suddenly.

“Jimmy was a respected man who helped a lot of people. If you came to him and he could not help, he would make sure that he took it forward,” she said.

Funeral arrangements had not yet been finalised.

The ANC yesterday urged its members to remain calm and to allow police the space to do their job.

Bongani Dlamini, the Umtshezi mayor and chairperson of the ANC’s Ukhahlamba region, said: “We were at a summit on local government when we got the call that Comrade Jimmy had been shot dead.

“It is clear that this murder is politically motivated.”

Dlamini said Lembede had done a lot of good work for his ward. He had overseen the building of a crèche, and was in the process of building 200 RDP houses, Dlamini said.

“We believe the law should be allowed to take its course,” said Dlamini.

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said the ANC was worried about the killings in KZN.

Early last month, Hibiscus Coast councillor Wandile Mkhize died in a hail of bullets outside his home.

Zikalala said: “The ANC is concerned with what seems to be a systematic campaign to eliminate our councillors to reverse the gains of democracy in the province.

“We call on the law enforcement agencies to ensure that those who are responsible for this callous crime are brought to book.”

On what the task team entailed, ANC spokesperson Senzo Mkhize said: “Our call was for a national task team to intervene in political killings.

“What the minister did was assign two detectives from the national SAPS to assist the police in the province.”

Mkhize said if a murder was suspected to be politically motivated, the detectives would identify what was needed, and make a recommendation on the number of personnel needed to investigate the crime.

“The minister just complemented the already existing teams. It is not a new team that has been created from scratch,” said Mkhize,

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane told The Witness that nothing was stolen from the Lembede home.

No arrests had been made and police were investigating one charge of murder, and two of attempted murder, he said.

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