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KZN political parties appeal to the police for protection after another politician is killed

Councillor Reginald Bhekumndeni Ndima,58, was shot and killed outside his home on Saturday morning in Newcastle. Picture: Supplied

Councillor Reginald Bhekumndeni Ndima,58, was shot and killed outside his home on Saturday morning in Newcastle. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 30, 2022

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DURBAN - Political parties in KwaZulu-Natal have appealed to police for the protection of those elected by the public to run municipalities across the province.

This was after another councillor was gunned down just two days after Police Minister Bheki Cele and his team were in the province to investigate mass and political killings.

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IFP councillor who was also speaker of the AmaJuba District Municipality, Reginald Bhekumndeni Ndima, 58, was shot and killed outside his home on Saturday morning in Newcastle. He was an IFP member.

The IFP, DA and ActionSA have called for intervention with the DA reiterating its call for the implementation of the Moerane Commission Report.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said Ndima had just returned home when he was shot by unknown assailants at the gate of his property. Naicker said a family member saw an unknown vehicle fleeing the scene after the shooting.

Ndima was conveyed to a local hospital immediately after the incident, but he was declared dead on arrival. Detectives from the Political Violence Task Team are investigating.

The IFP leadership visited the Ndima family on Sunday.

IFP national spokesperson, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, said Ndima was a humble and responsible servant of the people, who diligently dedicated his life to public service in the past 15 years as a councillor.

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Hlengwa said the absence of successful investigations and prosecutions in the spate of the killings of councillors in KZN emboldened criminal syndicates to continue on their killing spree with impunity.

Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka, said his department had convened a special engagement with all the mayors, speakers and executive committee members from municipalities under the Amajuba, uThukela and uMzinyathi on Thursday.

Hlomuka said this engagement was attended by Ndima and he was looking forward to Ndima making more contributions in the management of council matters. Hlomuka said this “senseless murder” robbed the people of Amajuba of a dedicated servant who was passionate about improving the lives of residents.

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“We urge law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned in the quest to apprehend those responsible and bring an end to these attacks on public representatives in our province. We cannot allow those who are hell-bent on plunging the sphere of local government in our province into chaos to succeed.”

Municipal spokesperson Sbonelo Cebekhulu said despite his age Ndima remained energetic and a source of knowledge, especially to young and new councillors he served with.

DA KZN leader Francois Rodgers reiterated the call to the provincial leadership to prioritise the recommendations of the Moerane Commission to prevent further bloodshed.

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“The job of councillors is to serve communities, it is now up to Premier Sihle Zikalala and Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka to ensure that they are able to do their duty without being in constant fear.”

ANC eThekwini ward 103 councillor Minenhle Mkhize was shot dead outside his Hammarsdale home last week.

The Moerane Commission was an inquiry into the underlying causes of the murder of politicians in KwaZulu-Natal chaired by advocate Marumo Moerane SC. The commission began in 2016 and by 2018 a final report was submitted to former KZN premier Willies Mchunu.

Among its recommendations was that tenders should be awarded in a fair, equitable and transparent manner in order to avoid bloodshed over them.

It also recommended that the state depoliticise and professionalise the public service in a bid to rebuild a state that is driven by service delivery and not patronage and personal accumulation of wealth, because some killings were motivated by the quest to access state power and control.

Councillor Muzi Stanley Ndlovu wrote on Facebook, “He indeed stunned us with his courage, persistence and perseverance. I learnt a lot from him during the previous term of office. He always shows respect. When he spoke during council meetings one can tell that the man is empowered with experience.”

Cele was in Durban on Wednesday briefing the media on police investigations into multiple murders in KZN. The province has recorded 229 incidents of multiple murders from April 1 last year on January 23, 2022. Cele said 531 people were killed in these incidents.

ActionSA KZN chairperson Musa Kubheka appealed to police for the protection of those elected by the public to run municipalities across the province. Kubheka said the flouting of the rule of law is what has led this province to be the murder capital of South Africa.

“As councillors we are under siege and councils across the province cannot afford to continue to take from the public purse in order to protect the lives of councillors. It is not their mandate, and it takes away from funds that should be earmarked for service delivery initiatives.”

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