Slain councillor lived in fear

2017-07-19 06:00
Regional deputy secretary Thobekile Maphumulo addresses mourners at the memorial service of slain Richmond councillor Sifiso Mkhize at Richmond Agricultural Hall yesterday.PHOTO: Sabelo Nsele

Regional deputy secretary Thobekile Maphumulo addresses mourners at the memorial service of slain Richmond councillor Sifiso Mkhize at Richmond Agricultural Hall yesterday.PHOTO: Sabelo Nsele

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SLAIN Richmond councillor Sifiso Mkhize knew his life was under threat.

This revelation was made by his friend Siminenkosi Ndlovu at his memorial service at Richmond Agricultural Hall on Thursday.

Fear over the safety of his former
colleagues was a contentious issue at the memorial service with three speakers asking, “Who is next?”

One councillor even suggested a cleansing ceremony be done, saying the area was
haunted by those who had died during
political violence that ravaged the area in the past.

The speakers also criticised that since
municipal manager Sibusiso Sithole and
deputy mayor Thandazile Phoswa were
murdered no arrests had been made.

Mkhize died in a hail of bullets last week while on his way home from a community
policing forum meeting.

Ndlovu, who is also council speaker, said Mkhize had on “numerous occasions” asked the municipality to increase security for its councillors.

“He knew his life was in danger. Even the day before he was killed, he did not take his car home because he suspected someone was following him.

“The next day he was killed on his way home,” he said.

Ndlovu labelled those behind Mkhize’s murder as “selfish”.

“Did they take time to think about by-elections before killing him?

“We have just came back from Nquthu by-elections where we lost. There was a recent by-election in Ward 32 [Msunduzi], which we also lost.

“In the August elections opposition parties brought the fight to us.

“They contested very hard. I do not think these killers thought about that before killing him,” he said.

Community Safety and Liaison MEC Mxolisi Kaunda admitted police were finding it difficult to investigate the political Richmond murders.

“You people of Richmond know how to plan a murder.

“For these three murders in Richmond there has been no arrests, but when there was the killing of the speaker of Umzimkhulu, police managed to apprehend the killers within two days,” he said.

“Richmond is problematic.

“The thing is, there is that sense of fear which is ruling here. The problem is that all of you have guns, that is why you fear each other so much.”

Kaunda said the continued political murders in KZN has earned the province a bad reputation.

“We are a disgrace to other tribes.

“Even at the policy conference, comrades from the Eastern Cape said to me ‘the killings must stop now’.

“I want to say, wherever these killers are hiding, we will find them,” he said.

ANC regional deputy secretary Thobekile Maphumulo said if the murders are not stopped they might hinder service delivery in their area.

“All the administration staff would resign and no one would want to work in a municipality where there is no stability,” she said.

“What then happens to service delivery? Community members will then start protesting.

“Enough is enough. We cannot keep on making newspaper headlines by killing each other.

“You will find out Mkhize was killed for two cents.”

Mayor Sibusiso Mchunu said the municipality’s councillors need to be protected.

“A council is a council because of councillors. I do not know who will sit in council if you kill all the councillors.

“I do not know which direction this municipality is taking.”

Mchunu revealed that pamphlets saying Mkhize was killed because he was “talkative”, were being distributed in Richmond.

Mkhize will be laid to rest at Indaleni tomorrow.

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