Estcourt: another murder

2010-08-02 00:00

TENSIONS are at an all-time high in a small midlands town of Estcourt following yet another death linked to an ongoing conflict among feuding Inkatha Freedom Party factions.

uMtshezi Municipality office assistant Simangele Khumalo was shot dead through the window at her home in Thembalihle on Friday evening.

Khumalo’s death comes within a week after the IFP chairperson in the eSigodlweni area of Estcourt, Sbu Mnikathi, was shot dead at his home.

Another local IFP leader, uMtshezi constituency secretary Mthembeni Majola, is recovering in hospital after he was shot three times when the vehicle he was travelling in was ambushed near his home last Tuesday.

All these incidents are believed to be linked to infighting between IFP factions — one supporting IFP national chairperson Zanele Magwaza-Msibi and another backing IFP secretary-general Reverend Musa Zondi — who fighting to take over the presidency of the IFP after its president and founder, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, steps down.

Khumalo’s sister, Simphiwe, said the attackers came at about 9 pm on Friday and demanded to see Simangele.

“We sent a child to inquire as to who they were and why they wanted Simangele at that time of the day.

“They said they wanted her to accompany them to a night vigil at the local councillor’s homestead. She refused to go with them. They left and later returned. She interacted with them through an open window in the lounge and then they shot at her.

“She tried to run away from them, but they got in through the window and finished her off inside the house,” Simphiwe said.

uMtshezi Mayor Maliyakhe Shelembe, who is also reportedly at the centre of the conflict and regarded a strong Magwaza-Msibi backer, said it is difficult to conclude that the recent killings in the area are linked to conflict within the IFP.

“The situation is very tense and people don’t know what to do as they are attacked and killed in their own homes. I am confused and concerned about what is it that the killers want.

“This young woman was a breadwinner at her home and her daughter and siblings are now going to suffer as a result of her death.

“I reject these killings with the contempt they deserve. Let the killers stop these senseless killings and tell us what they want. We hope police will catch the culprits,” Shelembe said.

He denied rumours that there was a shooting outside his home earlier on Friday.

A local councillor, Lungile Mhlongo, said they heard gunshots during a night vigil for her mother who died of natural causes.

“We later learnt that Simangele had been shot dead at her own home,” Mhlongo said.

Simphiwe Khumalo said that before her sister’s attack, there had been an argument between her and some local youths, which ended with an exchange of insults.

Police spokesperson Vincent Mdunge confirmed the incident and said a murder charge was opened and is being investigated by detectives from the organised crime unit of Newcastle.

The motive for the murder is still not known yet and no arrest has, Mdunge added.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.