Family 'completely shocked' after Sifiso Zulu dies

2015-09-17 09:41
Sifiso Zulu (The Witness)

Sifiso Zulu (The Witness)

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Durban - Controversial Durban businessman Prince Sifiso Zulu, who made headlines after he was convicted on charges of culpable homicide in 2010, died on Wednesday.

Childhood friend and spokesperson for Zulu’s family Sifiso Sonjica said the family “is completely shocked”. Sonjica said Zulu, 42, was “rushed” to Kingsway Hospital at 07:00 on Wednesday morning after developing a breathing problem.

“We were initially told it was a lung infection. Sadly at 10:00 he passed away. No one knew he was ill,” said Sonjica.

He said he saw Zulu last week and he appeared to be in good health.

“We will release a statement on the funeral arrangements shortly. Due to his being part of Zulu royalty there are several logistics that we must follow.”

He said Zulu’s late father was a Zulu prince.

His long-time friend and former eThekwini city manager Mike Sutcliffe said: “We heard this very sad and unfortunate news this morning. I have known him since the 80s and this is truly terrible.”

Zulu was convicted in 2010 for killing two students and injuring 10 others, including Dudu Ngema, a young woman who was left disabled, when his BMW X5 rammed into their bakkie, filled with members of a church.

He was drunk and had run a red light. Zulu was also found guilty of reckless and negligent driving, speeding, driving an unregistered vehicle and driving with number plates that were false. He served nine months of his three-year sentence before he was released on parole in February 2013, with strict conditions.

Sonjica said Zulu never completely came to terms with the accident.

“It was a tragedy. It wasn’t easy for him or the families involved. He would often be asked by the Department of Correctional Services to speak to offenders on issues such as life after prison,” said Sonjica.

Zulu, known for his lavish social life, was an avid supporter of President Jacob Zuma, and was once an adviser to former president Thabo Mbeki. In 2003, Zulu scored a lucrative contract from the eThekwini Municipality for the pay-and-display parking meter system in central Durban. The R30 million contract earned Zulu some unwanted press when rival bidders lodged a complaint with the municipal ombudsman’s office. In 2005, he was appointed by Sutcliffe as the man to lead the board of the newly established uShaka Marine World theme park and aquarium.

eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo extended his “heartfelt condolences to the Zulu family and the royal household”.

“It is so sudden. I saw him a month ago and he appeared in good health. We are all shocked. He was a good, humble businessperson,” he said.

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