Durban — The murders of a municipal employee and his three friends on Monday have left family and community members of Steadville township in the Alfred Duma Municipality reeling in shock.
Their bodies were found near a bush on the side of P32 Helpmekaar Road. One of them was Thulani Xaba, the Alfred Duma Municipality (ADM) manager of the Local Economic Development, LED Services and Tourism Museum department: Development Planning and Human Settlement. ADM is a local municipality within the uThukela District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.
Xaba had allegedly left home on Sunday night to try to track down the whereabouts of his laptop that was stolen from his car in December. Details have not been made available as to how it was stolen. Xaba took along five of his friends to Ekuvukeni township after receiving information on the possible location of the laptop.
According to his sister, Zodwa Kristos, Xaba had received a call which tipped him off about the stolen laptop.
“He informed his wife about the call, took one of their cars and drove to Ekuvukeni. When he and his five friends reached the location, they went to one of the houses to search for the laptop. Two of his friends stayed in the car.
“The friends who were in the car then heard gunshots fired in the house, where he (Xaba) was escorted to with his other three friends. The two in his car then fled on foot,” said Kristos.
It is alleged that the suspects then transported Xaba’s body to eMabhekazi village a few kilometres away.
“It seems the suspects’ car had run out of petrol,” said Kristos.
“On Monday morning we rushed to the scene after receiving a call informing us about the incident. When I got there, I realised it was indeed my brother’s body.”
Kristos told the Daily News that the family were beginning to doubt that the stolen laptop was discovered, as they suspect that there could be a motive behind the murder.
The three bodies of Xaba’s friends were found in a different location, she said.
A community member, who spoke on condition of anonymity for safety reasons, said residents were disheartened and still in shock.
“Thulani was an amazing human being with such a beautiful soul. He and his friends were only trying to get the laptop back, not to hurt anyone. We really need justice to be served for all victims,” said the source.
Police spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda said SAPS Ekuvukeni are investigating cases of murder. Netshiunda said the suspects are unknown and the motive for the killing has not yet been established.
ADM spokesperson Thabisile Mkhize said the municipal staff are devastated by the incident.
“We have lost a valuable member of the municipality. Our prayers are with the family during this difficult time,” she said.
Xaba joined the municipality in 2012 September after he was appointed as the performance management systems manager.
In 2014 February, Xaba was appointed as manager of Local Economic Development and Tourism Museum. Mkhize said Xaba served the municipality for 12 years with “great dedication and commitment to his work”.
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