New round of political hits in KZN

2019-01-07 15:27

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Two hits in a week in Pietermaritzburg have shattered the lull in political assassinations in KwaZulu-Natal.

Former City and uMgungundlovu District councillor Lungisani Sikhakhane was ambushed and killed at his home in Imbali on Sunday morning while preparations were being made to bury Jabulani Mngoma, the bodyguard of the speaker of Msunduzi Municipality Jabu Ngubo, who was shot dead last Tuesday.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said Sikhakhane was shot multiple times as he arrived home, and died in hospital.

Mngoma, whose funeral was held in the neighbouring Caluza township, was shot while celebrating New Year with family in Smero, Edendale.

Sikhakhane defected from the DA to the ANC in 2016 after accusing the DA of exploiting him to get black votes, only to sideline him.

DA member of the provincial legislature, Sizwe Mchunu, who was Sikhakhane’s mentor and close friend, said: “It is public knowledge that Lungisani and I were very close.

“He was my best friend, my brother actually. It’s a very sad loss. Everyone is in shock about how someone as responsible as Lungisani was murdered so brutally.”

He added that they were still unsure about the motive for the attack.

ANC provincial spokesperson Nomagugu Simelane said: “It’s very unfortunate that this comes very much after the passing of our Comrade Jabulani Mngoma ... It’s thoroughly confusing to us as to what is happening and this is happening at a time when we started believing that the killing of politicians was actually ending.”

Simelane said they had faith that the police would be able to bring the perpetrators to book as they had done with other political killings.

Meanwhile, rousing tributes were paid to Mngoma by the speakers at his funeral. They described him as a loving and compassionate person who had dedicated his life to protecting Ngubo.

His best friend, Sibonelo Shangase, another of Ngubo’s bodyguards, told the packed hall that he was living in fear as there were rumours that he would also be murdered.

He said he did not know why Mngoma had been killed and there were no witnesses to the attack, but he had made peace with the fact that “I’m next”.

Ngubo tried to contain her emotions as she spoke about the how deeply Mngoma’s death had hurt her.

He was the second Mngoma brother, attached to her security detail, to be murdered. Bruce Mngoma was assassinated in November 2017.

Ngubo said one of the things that had troubled Mngoma before his death was the manner in which the ANC in ward 12 had handled the killings of its leaders, who were gunned down within hours of each in June 2016.

The branch chairperson Nathi Hlongwa and the treasurer Simo Mncwabe, who was Mngoma’s elder brother, were killed in separate incidents.

Last year Mngoma was arrested in connection with Hlongwa’s death but the charges were later withdrawn due to lack of evidence.

Ngubo said what hurt Mngoma was the decision by the ANC leadership to organise an inaugural memorial lecture for Hlongwa alone, with no reference to him.

She said this while looking straight at the former ANC regional secretary Mzi Zuma, whom she addressed by his clan name Nxamalala.

Msunduzi speaker's bodyguard Jabulani Mngoma was given a rousing send off in Caluza on Sunday. (Nokuthula Ntuli)

Zuma’s picture dominated the poster for the event as he was invited as the main speaker.

When Zuma got distracted while Shangase kneeled next to him and whispered something to him, Ngubo waited until he was done before she continued.

“He felt that — and we also interpreted it the same way — the branch did not organise the lecture for both Hlongwa and his brother because they believed that the police had found Hlongwa’s killer and that it was him, even though the charges had been withdrawn,” said Ngubo.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  political killings

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