Cape Town - Political parties in the province are calling for a thorough investigation into the murder of former ANC youth league leader and activist Loyiso Nkohla, who was gunned down in Philippi on Monday morning, two weeks after burying his mother.
Nkohla, 40, was at the time of the shooting in a meeting with community leaders and shack dwellers who had built their structures on the Prasa Central railway line.
A witness who was part of the proceedings said four men stormed the meeting immediately after the opening prayer and proceeded to shoot Nkohla. Although the witness couldn’t say how many shots were fired, 26 crime scene cones surrounded Nkohla’s body.
One of the victims is former ward 80 ANC councillor Thembinkosi Pupa, whom the witness said was shot in his legs, as were two females.
Residents and local political leaders watched in shock as the body of Nkohla lay in-between the Prasa-owned offices and former Browns Farm police station, face down and covered with a blanket.
At the time of his death, Nkohla was the community liaison officer for the Siyahlala, Khayelitsha and Philippi communities who had occupied the Prasa railway lines on the Central line.
He recently led a protest by these occupants in which they demanded mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis work with the provincial Department of Public Works, Prasa and the National Department of Public Works to expedite the relocation project after it was marred by delays.
Nkohla gained prominence in 2013, when he led protests for flushable toilets together with ANC member Andile Lili under the banner of the Ses’khona People’s Rights Movement, who dumped buckets of human faeces at Cape Town International Airport. The two were among five arrested.
Community activist Mbulelo Dwane, who expressed shock at the hit on Nkohla, said he was with him in Gugulethu where they had breakfast an hour before he was gunned down.
“We met in a place in Gugulethu and discussed a few things about the Chippa Protection Services debacle and were briefing each other, as he had been out of Cape Town to bury his mother in the Eastern Cape,” he said.
Dwane said Nkohla also had a contract with Prasa to clean the Central line. He also was in the meat supply and construction business, he said.
“Nkohla had left politics and had pursued business ventures. He was not active in politics and was in businesses that were doing well. He had a contract with Prasa about the Central line and he was into construction,” he said.
Asked if he was aware if Nkohla had received any threats, Dwane said no, but indicated that there were challenges with the Prasa contract which he said were “handled”.
He wouldn’t be drawn on the details of these challenges.
“The Central line has been dead for a while and there are kind of foreign elements that want to hijack the contract,” he said.
A member of the ANCYL national youth task team, Insaaf Ayana Isaacs, said Nkohla was unapologetically fearless, courageous, ready to take risks, and immersed himself in the life and struggles of communities.
“We will remain with a single, enduring image of him as a committed young lion … Those who grieve his passing across political parties will find solace in shared memories with him, the impact he made, and the ideals he worked towards,” she said.
Political parties in the province also came out calling for investigations to be expedited into Nkohla’s killing.
DA provincial Safety and Security spokesperson Gillion Bosman said while details remain scant at this time, the possibility that the incident came as a result of previous issues with organised criminal extortionists in the area cannot be ignored.
ANC MP Khalid Sayed, who visited the scene, called on the authorities to ensure the culprits were apprehended and that investigations were conducted in a manner that would not “score own goals” in the end.
Nkohla, who resided in Parklands, is survived by his wife and two kids.
Police spokesperson Joseph Swartbooi said the unknown gunmen fled the scene and were yet to be arrested. The motive for the attack was as yet undetermined. He said Nyanga police are investigating cases of murder and attempted murder.
Anyone with information that can assist with the investigation can call Crime Stop on 08600 10111.