Bheki Cele National Minister of Police addresses ANC members after seeing the family members of murdered councillor Bhekithemba Phungula in uMlazi. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency(ANA)
Bheki Cele National Minister of Police addresses ANC members after seeing the family members of murdered councillor Bhekithemba Phungula in uMlazi. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency(ANA)

KZN must not be known as province for political killings says Bheki Cele

By Mphathi Nxumalo Time of article published Jun 26, 2020

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Durban - POLICE Minister Bheki Cele lamented yet another political killing as he visited the family of a slain uMlazi ward councillor.

Bhekithemba Phungula was shot dead at his home on Tuesday.

Cele said he had to ask for permission from President Cyril Ramaphosa to pay his respects to the Phungula family because he was supposed to be part of a National Command Council meeting.

Cele said the president remarked that it seemed as though political killings had started again in the province.

“Being known for political killings was not something nice for KwaZulu-Natal,” said Cele. “By looking at the figures starting in May and June, about eight people have been murdered in this province. These are suspected political killings.”

He said the investigation into Phungula’s murder was handed over to the special political task team looking into murders in the province.

Cele said progress was being made with these investigations and they had arrested 200 people thus far, including many hitmen.

“We have visited and listened to the family, and there are issues which are police issues. I have spoken to the people, especially the women here, to say that anybody who has information must take it to the police,” he said.

Cele said the task team needed to work fast and they were also working with prosecutors.

He said he had come to KZN to visit the Phungula family and look for answers as to what exactly happened.

Before meeting the family, Cele had been briefed by the police at the uMlazi police station about the incident.

The Daily News reported earlier this week how Phungula had been shot by unknown men in front of his daughter, Nqobile. He had just driven into his yard when he was attacked.

She told Cele that the incident had traumatised her, but she had to be strong for her family. Nqobile said that her mother, Sibongile, suffered from depression and that her father’s death had been hard on the family and had traumatised them.

“I had to check my father’s pulse and declare him dead,” she said.

Nqobile said her father had been a straightforward, honest man and that the family had suffered for this and would be ridiculed for it, as he’d put the needs of the community over that of his family.

Phungula’s widow, Sibongile, said people who knew her would make fun of her in town as she sold food on the streets to make a living. She was not living comfortably and didn’t have a good job, even though her husband was a ward councillor. “God chose him to serve the people,” Sibongile said.

Daily News

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