Eastern Cape ANC ward councillor nominee stabbed to death

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ANC members wave the party's flag.
ANC members wave the party's flag.
Gallo Images / Sowetan / Thulani Mbele
  • Thembekile Somngwangwa was stabbed to death at a branch meeting outside a community hall in the Ingquza Hill Local Municipality at the weekend. 
  • This comes as the ANC grapples to stop violence at branch general meetings across the province. 
  • The killing comes two months after a Winnie Madikizela-Mandela municipality ward councillor was arrested for murder.

An Eastern Cape ANC member, nominated as a candidate in the upcoming local government elections, has been stabbed to death at a party meeting in the Ingquza Hill Local Municipality in the OR Tambo region on Sunday.  

The member, Thembekile Somngwangwa, was nominated to stand as a councillor and was reportedly killed moments after a party meeting apparently collapsed, due to violence. 

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Thembinkosi Kinana confirmed the incident, saying two people had been arrested in connection with the murder.

ALSO READ | ANC councillor arrested after fellow party member shot dead in alleged ambush

The killing of the 29-year-old man comes as the ANC in the province grapples with violence at branch general meetings organised to nominate candidates for council positions ahead of the upcoming local government elections in October.

The latest murder follows hot on the heels of the arrest of a ward councillor in the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Local Municipality, Lucky Birthwell Mbuzi, 44, who was arrested for allegedly masterminding the murder of another councillor, Mduduzi Madikizela, 47, two months ago. 

Madikizela was reportedly going to compete against Mbuzi for a ward council position in the same ward. 

In a statement, the ANC condemned Somngwangwa's murder, saying it cannot be tolerated.

ALSO READ | ANC councillor arrested for allegedly killing five people in mob justice

The party said Somngwangwa was stabbed to death by "a group of thugs" outside the community hall after the "postponement" of the community meeting. 

ANC provincial secretary Lulama Ngcukayithobi said:

We are deeply worried that political differences are now being resolved through brutal killing , and no longer through established congress movement traditions of political persuasions and robust engagements. This is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. We would like to express our shock and disgust at the latest killing. Our movement cannot harbour thugs and criminals and they must be exposed.

The ANC appealed for information around the "barbaric" attack to provide information to the police.

ALSO READ | Suspended Eastern Cape ANC branch chair gets 10 years for raping party member

"We call on the law enforcement agencies to ensure all those who are responsible for this callous crime are brought to book and sentenced to longtime imprisonment. We send our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the Somngwangwa family, relatives, friends and comrades. May his soul rest in peace," said Ngcukayithobi. 

Police said the suspects would appear in court soon.

Kinana added that the murder investigation was in full swing and that the circumstances around the incident were still under investigation. 

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