Pro-Zuma man slain

2012-07-02 00:00

SOUTH Coast politician Wandile Mkhize, who was gunned down outside his Manaba home on Saturday night, had warned police that he was receiving death threats.

However, the threats — delivered in person and over the phone — had not been taken seriously, his friends said yesterday as they planned his funeral.

Mkhize (34) had been home for less than an hour after returning from the ANC’s policy conference, held in Johannesburg last week, when he was killed.

At the conference he led ANC delegates in songs praising President Jacob Zuma and was at the front when Zuma’s supporters faced off against those of ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe at the Gallagher Estate venue.

Mkhize, chief whip in the Ugu District Municipality, returned to his Manaba home, near Margate, on Saturday night.

ANC South Coast regional secretary Mzwandile Mkhwanazi was one of the last people to see Mkhize alive.

“I dropped him off around 10 pm. We had just got back from the conference.

“The way he was speaking at the conference, it was as if he knew it was his last conference.

“He was dynamic and he pushed forward his views.”

Mkhwanazi, who had known Mkhize for over eight years, said his comrade, who was dead 30 minutes later, had emphasised the need for unity in the ANC.

“His beliefs were driven by unity. He pushed for unity and I will make sure that I take his philosophy forward.

“It is a very hurtful time for all of us in the party, but we are urging the public and members of the party to let the law take its course.

“We cannot speculate about his murder; we need to respect the law that we have set in place.”

Mkhize’s brother, Nkosi, said he was convinced that the murder was politically motivated.

“Those people who killed him just sat there and waited for him to come home and then they opened fire and fled.”

Nkosi said Mkhize and a friend, Nhlakanipho Shabane, went out to buy dinner after returning from the conference.

“They arrived back at Wandile’s house and when they got out of the car, they were fired on.”

Mkhize died at the scene while Shabane was seriously wounded.

Sources told The Witness that Mkhize had received threats and reported them to Margate police.

But Nkosi said the family was unaware of such threats.

One source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Mkhize had approached the police after receiving threats.

“It is true that Wandile approached the police, not once, but several times,” he said.

“It is worrying that they’re now saying he never reported them.

“He used to get phone calls, and sometimes they would be face-to-face,” he said.

Another source said that Mkhize had asked for police protection.

However, police spokesperson Captain Gerald Mfeka said that no entry regarding death threats had been made at Margate police station.

“Every time someone reports something to the police, an entry is made in the system. If there is no entry, it means that it was never reported,” Mfeka said.

Two sources at Margate police station, however, said Mkhize had reported the death threats, but they were not taken seriously.

The Witness was unable to speak to Margate police station management about the matter yesterday.

The ANC also expressed shock.

“Comrade Mkhize’s demise is a great tragedy and the loss is not suffered only by his family but the entire movement,” said spokesperson Bongani Mthembu.

Mkhize, hailed as a visionary and a leader who inspired transformation, grew up at kwaNzimakwe, outside Margate. He started his political career at the University of Zululand, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in administration, and later joined ANC structures in the lower South Coast.

He rose to become regional secretary of the ANC Youth League in the area and a member of the party’s regional executive committee.

Mkhize had contested the position of ANCYL secretary-general last year, but lost out to the suspended Sindiso Magaqa.

At the time of his death, he was an executive committee member of the ANC on the South Coast and a member of the regional working committee.

Mkhwanazi said the ANCYL in the region had twice won the party’s Anton Lembede award for the best performing ANCYL branch in the country under Mkhize’s leadership.

Mayor Cynthia Mqwebu said Mkhize’s passing was a great loss to the Hibiscus Coast community.

She appealed for calm while the shooting was investigated.

Mkhize is survived by six children aged two to seven years.

Arrangements are being made for a funeral on Saturday.

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