Police on Monday announced the establishment to investigate the killing of the municipal manager of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands town of Richmond.

Edward Sibusiso Sithole was gunned down in Victoria Street shortly before 9am by two unknown gunmen, who fled in their getaway car.

Police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane said: “A task team has been formed by the KwaZulu-Natal acting provincial commissioner, Major-General Bheki Langa, to investigate the murder of the Richmond municipal manager.”

According to Zwane, the municipal manager was 39 years old.

In a statement released on Monday afternoon, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs spokesman Lennox Mabaso said: “According to reports Sithole was brutally murdered after he was called to an incident at a nearby testing station. While the details are still sketchy, it is alleged that he was pulled off the road by killers who posed as policeman.”

Dean Macpherson, the DA’s constituency head for the area, said Sithole lost his life because he did not toe the line of the ruling ANC. He said it had been no secret Sithole had opposed the plan to increase the number of full-time councillors in the ANC-controlled council.

“Due to his tough stance on corruption and maladministration, which clearly did not fit the programme of action of the local ANC, Mr Sithole was forced to seek employment elsewhere and was due to take over as municipal manager at uMgeni municipality on 13 March, 2017,” said MacPherson.

He expressed his condolences to Sithole’s family.

National Freedom Party spokesman Sabelo Sigudu said: “The National Freedom Party (NFP) wishes to express words of condolence on the sad shooting and killing of Mr Sithole, the municipality manager of Richmond local municipality, which took place this morning.”

He described the shooting as “evil”.

It had initially been reported that Sithole was due to start at the Richmond municipality, but in fact Sithole had worked there for the past five years.

African News Agency