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Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu has called for a crack police team to probe the shootings of four ANC councillors since last year, including Saturday’s drive-by killing of Hibiscus Coast councillor Wandile Mkhize.
“It is worrying that he is the third to die in this manner in such a short space of time. This pattern is not so different,” said Mchunu, who joined provincial ANC heavyweights, including Premier Zweli Mkhize, cabinet colleagues and others in paying their respects to the councillor at his family home in Nzimakwe on the South Coast on Monday.
In July last year, the ANC eThekwini regional secretary, S’bu Sibiya, was shot dead at his home in Inanda.
Three months earlier, another councillor, Wiseman Mshibe, was killed in the driveway of his home.
Mkhize, 34, was shot dead outside his home in Manaba near Margate as he was walking with a fellow councillor, Nhlakanipho Shabane. Police confirmed last night that Shabane was also shot several times during the attack and was in hospital in a critical condition. He is under police guard.
Mchunu, who described Mkhize’s murder as “really painful” because the party had “high hopes” for his future in politics, said police should form a special team to investigate the shootings.
“We want arrests and we won’t lose hope,” he said.
Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge, the provincial police spokesman, said on Monday night that they were reluctant to disclose their operational approach to the investigations because of the sensitivity of the matter and the risks involved.
Mkhize was an executive committee member in the municipality and the party’s chief whip. He was also the former secretary of the party’s youth league in the lower South Coast region.
He had just returned from the ANC national policy conference in Midrand when he and Shabane were attacked by two men in a Toyota Tazz.
Addressing grieving family members, the premier
said the death had come as a shock to the party.
“He was a carefree individual, which is why we are confused why this has happened.
The councillor was a man who stood by his word,” he said.
“We are really hurt and want to say everything must be done to ensure that the perpetrators are found.”
SACP provincial secretary Themba Mthembu, who was also among the more than 100 people at the councillor’s family home yesterday, said the police should work swiftly to prevent “manslaughter” in KwaZulu-Natal.
Among those paying condolences to the family was axed police commissioner Bheki Cele,
who said it was worrying that no one knew who had killed Mkhize.
“He was a hard worker. He was not a pushover,” said Cele. “We hope that one day we will know what really happened and why.”
KZN legislature Speaker, Peggy Nkonyeni, said
Mkhize had worked hard in his various roles.
“One could tell that he grew up in a good home and was always very respectful,” she said. “The values that were instilled in him were very good. He was an intelligent person, and I really feel for the municipality that he worked for.”
Hibiscus Coast spokesman, Simon Soboyisa, said the municipality was shocked at the way he died.
“We have really lost out on a young, vibrant, dynamic and visionary leader in government,” Soboyisa said. “We would like to plead with the community to be calm and vigilant and, most importantly, to allow the law to take its course. We hope that justice will be served
Mkhize’s younger brother, Nkosi, 28, who was among the first on the scene of the shooting on Saturday, said he was battling to come to terms with the murder.
“I don’t know what I will do every time I pass the spot where he died,” he said, adding that they were very close.
“I will miss him for the all the good things that he did for us and the people of this country. We are coping because of our faith and we are remaining strong for our mother.”
As friends, family and politicians gathered on Monday, preparations were under way for Mkhize’s funeral and private burial on Sunday. A grave was being prepared on the family homestead.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday at 2pm at the Port Shepstone Civic Centre, and the funeral on Sunday at 9am at the Ugu Sports and Leisure complex. - Daily News