Greytown: ANC family shot, killed

2009-06-24 00:00

THREE family members, including the four-year-old child, of an ANC member were shot and killed in the Entembisweni area, near Greytown, allegedly due to political tensions between the ANC and IFP in the region.

Greytown has been embroiled in alleged tit for tat killings since May this year.

Two councillors, one each from the IFP and ANC, were previously ambushed and killed allegedly as a result of political intolerance between the two parties. Two weeks ago another IFP councillor was shot and wounded on his way home.

In the attack early yesterday, said police spokesman Superintendent Henry Budhram, ANC member Mbongeni Sikhakhane (49), who The Witness has learnt is also the party’s organiser in the area, was shot and wounded by unknown gunmen. He was later taken to a hospital in Greytown.

Budhram said that three people were found killed at his home: Agnes Ntombana Sikhakhane (70), Mfaniseni Nkomo (18) and four-year-old Phamela Anele Sikhakhane. “Sihle Sikhakhane (19) arrived at his relatives’ home in, Gunqu, Entembisweni area of Ematimatolo and discovered three of his family members shot and killed while the fourth member managed to escape to a nearby homestead, after he was shot and wounded,” said Budhram.

Sihle contacted the police and Mbongeni Sikhakhane was rushed to hospital, Budhram said.

Yesterday evening, police said two people were being questioned in connection with the killings. Director Phindile Radebe said the arrested men are from the Entembisweni area.

ANC sources who spoke to The Witness on condition of anonymity, allege that the IFP is behind the killings of its councillors and those of the ANC in an effort to hold on to the rule of Umvoti Municipality by instilling fear that the ANC is killing people to get votes. The sources allege that since the ANC overwhemingly won the province in the April 22 elections, the IFP has foreseen that it will lose the council to the ANC in the 2011 Local Government Election.

IFP sources on the other hand, allege that the ANC is trying to buy IFP councillors to join them in order to seal the victory for the ruling party in 2011. The sources allege that the ANC has threatened to kill councillors who refuse to defect from the IFP.

KwaZulu-Natal violence monitor Mary De Haas said the latest killings in Greytown are cause for concern. De Haas said she is worried about possible escalation as it seems the killings occur unpredictably.

The ANC’s acting provincial secretary, Sihle Zikalala, said the party was shocked and saddened at the brutal attack of the Sikhakhane family, well known ANC activists in the area.

Zikalala said the ANC condemns the “inhumane, cowardly and barbaric” killings.

“Ntembisweni has become somewhat of a hotspot as many ANC members have been killed in the area …” said Zikalala. He said the killings have reached a serious point and urged the police to deal with the attacks with utmost urgency.

“As the ANC we believe that both organisations the ANC and IFP should sit down to discuss the challenges arising from the killings in Greytown,” added Zikalala.

IFP national organiser Albert Mncwango said his party condemns the killings. He said the IFP is urging the police to expedite the investigation so that the truth behind the killings can known. He said it is disturbing that people are being killed in their homes or on their way home.

He said talks with the ANC will not yield a positive outcome because results have not been achieved before.

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