Wembezi mob barricades road after ‘political’ killing

ANC generic. Dumisani Dube Picture: Dumisani Dube

An angry mob barricaded roads with rocks and burning tyres at Wembezi township, near Estcourt, on Monday, after what is believed to be yet another political killing in the area.

S’bu Majola, 37, an ANC branch chairman, was gunned down, allegedly by political rivals, outside his home on Saturday afternoon.

A police source said more than 1 500 angry ANC supporters had closed Ntabamhlophe Road in Wembezi.

“They have been burning tyres and placing boulders across the road. Motorists were also intimidated. There is a strong police presence in the area.”

On Monday, the ANC described the murder as barbaric and senseless.

“There was a merry-go-round that had been set up near his home. This shooting happened while there were children playing.

“The children who witnessed this are still traumatised,” said ANC Ukhahlamba regional chairman Bongani Dlamini, who is also the mayor of uMtshezi.

Two men, aged 20 and 35, had been arrested for the murder and were expected to appear in court on Tuesday, police said.

According to Dlamini, one of them is an National Freedom Party member from Wembezi’s C section, an NFP stronghold.

Dlamini believes there is a link between the murder and the tension between NFP and ANC councillors at the uMtshezi and Imbabazane municipalities.

Municipalities

The two municipalities were among those left hung after the 2011 local government municipalities and are co-governed by the two parties.

Last year the NFP, with the support of the IFP, removed ANC mayors and speakers at the two municipalities.

In both cases the ANC approached the courts and the decisions to remove its officials were overturned.

The court found that the meetings at which the votes of no confidence had been passed had not been properly convened.

“We think that the murder of comrade Sbu is related to what is happening at the municipalities,” Dlamini said.

“The NFP has been saying that it will take over the municipalities from the ANC before the end of the year. It should be remembered that this is not the first murder of an ANC leader in the area.”

ANC leader Jimmy Lembeth, was gunned down at his home last August. Dlamini said in that case, one of the people arrested was a brother of an NFP councillor.

NFP national chairman and former uMtshezi mayor, Maliyakhe Shelembe, admitted that one of the two people arrested was an NFP member.

Shelembe, however, said it was no time to point fingers.

“At the weekend we buried two of our (NFP) members at Wembezi C section. We did not accuse anyone of anything,” he said. “ANC politicians should just let the law take its course, because no one has been found guilty by the courts.”

Shelembe pointed out that the suspect had also been attacked recently, first at his home and later in hospital.

But he said his party did not condone any political killing and had requested a meeting with senior leaders of the ANC to discuss political intolerance.

Majola’s sister, Thabiso Ngqulunga, said the family believe that the murder was linked to her brother’s political work. “Talking to his associates, I believe that he was murdered for political reasons,” she said.

Dlamini said councillors were now scared to hold community meetings.

Police met representatives of the Wembezi community yesterday and were asked about the low conviction rate for political killings. The community also demanded that police visibility be increased.

Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane confirmed that a case of murder was being investigated.

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