Durban - KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, has condemned an attack, which took place outside Pietermaritzburg, on the the speaker of Mkhambathini Local Municipality Thembalikho Gwala which resulted in the death of his bodyguard, Samkelo Chili.
The department said in a statement that the incident occurred on Saturday when Gwala and his bodyguards were driving back from a community meeting in KwaNjobokazi. The assailants shot at their car several times, resulting in Chili’s death.
Sithole-Moloi expressed her condolences to the Chili family and called for anyone who may have information to assist the police to bring the perpetrators to book.
“It is deeply concerning that such incidents are still happening in our province, particularly so soon after the commemoration of Freedom Day. While the motive of the attack is not yet known, we are worried about the destabilising effect that such incidents can have on our municipalities.”
She said local government officials had to be allowed to conduct their activities without any hindrance.
“It is imperative that speakers of all councils be able to execute their duties without fear of interference or intimidation from outside. Speakers play a crucial role in the functioning of our local councils, and it is vital that they are able to carry out their duties without fear of violence or intimidation.”
Sithole-Moloi called on law enforcement agencies to act swiftly in apprehending those responsible and bringing them to justice.
“This kind of violence has no place in our society, and we must do all that we can to prevent it. The safety of our councillors and their staff is of utmost importance, and we must work together to ensure that they can carry out their duties without fear for their lives.
“We stand in solidarity with the people of Mkhambathini and offer our condolences to the family and friends of Samkelo Chili. We will do all that we can to ensure that justice is served,” added Sithole-Moloi.
The department said it will be closely monitoring the situation and offering support to the Mkhambathini Local Municipality during this time.
Sithole-Moloi also conveyed her condolences to the family of Skhumbuzo Mntambo, a community development worker in ward 7 in Umzumbe Local Municipality, under Ugu District Municipality on the KZN South Coast.
Mntambo was shot earlier in the week.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time. We condemn any form of violence and we hope that the perpetrator(s) will be brought to justice."