Recent wave of violence against KZN councillors condemned

The South African Local Government Association in KwaZulu-Natal said these incidents of violence against councillors were not isolated. They formed part of a disturbing pattern of attacks on elected representatives. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

The South African Local Government Association in KwaZulu-Natal said these incidents of violence against councillors were not isolated. They formed part of a disturbing pattern of attacks on elected representatives. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 28, 2023


Durban – The South African Local Government Association (Salga) in KwaZulu-Natal has condemned the increasing violence against councillors in the province.

This comes after the murder of Msunduzi Municipality ANC ward 41 councillor Mabhungu Mkhize on Friday afternoon at Imbali Unit 14 in Pietermaritzburg.

According to KZN police spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda, police responded to reports of a shooting and upon arrival, found a vehicle riddled with bullet holes. It was reported that two suspects approached the vehicle and opened fire on the two occupants. The driver, Mkhize, tried to get away, but he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a house. The passenger was shot in the thigh and managed to run to safety. The 45-year-old councillor was rushed to hospital where he died.

Netshiunda said Plessislaer and the Umgungundlovu District Task Team officers mobilised resources and two suspects, aged 23 and 27, were arrested at a house in Ntumbeza Road in Imbali. Two firearms were found hidden on the roof of a garage and the alleged getaway vehicle was recovered and seized.

Salga KZN chairperson Thami Ntuli condemned the recent wave of violence targeting councillors.

Ntuli said he had learnt that it was not the first attempt on Mkhize’s life.

“This horrific incident is a stark reminder of the grave challenges facing our public servants and the dangerous environments in which they sometimes operate. We cannot and will not tolerate such acts of violence against those who have been elected to serve our communities,” he said.

“Salga KZN extends its full support to law enforcement agencies in their efforts to investigate this heinous crime thoroughly. We call upon the Police Minister, Bheki Cele, to act swiftly and decisively by deploying high-level police investigators to bring the perpetrators to justice. Drastic measures are imperative to ensure the safety and security of our councillors and public servants.

“These incidents of violence against councillors are not isolated. They form part of a disturbing pattern of attacks on our elected representatives,” Ntuli continued.

There have been other attacks in the past few weeks, particularly in the Nongoma Local Municipality where there was an attempt on NFP councillor Mphathiseni Manqele’s life and NFP councillor Ntombenhle Mchunu was murdered.

“It is deeply troubling that such incidents are occurring with alarming frequency. It is incumbent upon all of us, as a society, to safeguard the lives and security of our elected officials and public servants,” Ntuli said.

He called on municipalities to act quickly and make sure that relevant security protection was provided to any councillor who received a threat to their lives. The

He also called on communities to unite and work closely with law enforcement agencies to ensure that those responsible for these crimes were swiftly brought to justice.

“We believe that only through collective vigilance and co-operation can we put an end to this menace,” Ntuli said.

He said Salga KZN reaffirmed its commitment to democracy, the rule of law, and the safety of public servants.

“We stand in solidarity with the family of councillor Mabhungu Mkhize and all those who have been affected by this,” Ntuli said.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube and Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Sipho Hlomuka will hold a multi-sectoral meeting to discuss collaborative crime fighting and prevention strategies in the province.

The meeting will be attended by law enforcement agencies led by KZN police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, representatives of private security companies and captains of industry.

The provincial government said the engagement was part of its plans to strengthen collaborative crime-fighting initiatives and strategies.

The provincial government, law enforcement entities, voluntary community crime-fighting structures and private security companies have begun cultivating a partnership with the aim of building a united front against crime.

The meeting will provide a platform for stakeholders to plan and co-ordinate integrated systems to combat crime.

Some of the issues that will be covered include:

  • The government’s plans to address and curb the surge in the killing of public representatives, especially councillors and traditional leaders.
  • Implementation plans for resolutions of the recently concluded Community Policing Summit.
  • Provincial crime prevention strategies to address crime issues following the release of first-quarter crime statistics.
  • Improved collaboration between the government and Business Against Crime.

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