Councillor’s body found, kwaMashu on edge

2012-10-08 00:00

A LARGE police contingent was to be deployed to kwaMashu, one of KwaZulu-Natal’s largest townships, which was on edge yesterday following the discovery of the body of IFP councillor Themba Xulu, who had been kidnapped on Friday.

Xulu was abducted from a hostel by armed men posing as police officers. His body was discovered in a sugar cane field near Inanda Tea Estate yesterday.

Xulu’s murder follows the recent killings of the son of the NFP leader at the hostel and two other NFP members in the area.

Speaking after a meeting with the provincial police management, IFP leader Blessed Gwala called on his party’s members not to engage in violence.

“We are saying to our party members that violence begets more violence and we call on them not to engage in any violence or revenge attacks.

“The police and the experts are investigating the matter, and the provincial commissioner has told us they will be bringing in more people from national [level] to investigate,” he said.

Gwala would not comment on what the party believed was behind Xulu’s killing.

“We do not want to say that it’s politically motivated, only for it later to turn out to be [other] crime. All we know is that there was already tension in the area. We do not know whether it was what led to this.”

Gwala said Xulu had been a member of the IFP for a number of years and a member of the eThekwini council since 2011. He was married with children.

NFP secretary-general Professor Nhlanhla Khubisa told The Witness the party was concerned about the killings, but happy that the police were moving swiftly to curb the tense situation in kwaMashu.

“The provincial commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni has told us that she has spoken with National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega and will deploy more police officers in the area.”

Khubisa said all NFP members were living in fear after threats that there would be an NFP member’s funeral every weekend at the hostel.

Later in the day, an off-duty police officer was shot and killed near kwaMashu Hostel.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker refused to link the officer’s murder to the simmering political tensions in the area, saying the motive was unknown.

Crime scene experts removed several R100 notes from the officer’s pockets.

Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu said the growing of incidence of political killings in KZN was of great concern, saying: “The fact that someone can go and kill a councillor is very concerning.”

Political analyst Nhlanhla Mtaka said political parties should display leadership.

“What needs to happen is that the blame game needs to stop … the matter can no longer be left in the hands of the police alone. If the people are killed coming from party meetings, what can the police do about that?” he asked.

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