Call for probe into activists’ killing
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Durban - The former head of shack dwellers movement Abahlali baseMjondolo has called for an independent probe of the killings of Durban housing activists Nkululeko Gwala and Thembinkosi Qumbelo.
Gwala, 34, was shot 12 times on Wednesday night near his girlfriend’s home in Cato Crest, where he lived. Qumbelo was shot dead in March on the same street, with 10 spent cartridges found by the police at the scene.
Speaking at Gwala’s memorial service on Sunday, former Abahlali president, S’bu Zikode, lashed out at Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo for
allegedly inciting people at a tense community meeting just before Gwala was killed.
Dhlomo, who is the ANC chairman in eThekwini,
denied that he had incited the crowd at the meeting before Gwala was murdered.
Dhlomo had delivered a heated speech at a meeting, saying Gwala was not wanted in the area, and that he “either leaves the area or the community leaves”.
He said that Gwala should be banished and should “scrub his heels because he is leaving today”.
He had said mayor James Nxumalo, who was also present, should take his homeboy Gwala back to Inchanga.
Gwala had been interviewed by the Daily News two hours before he was murdered.
Zikode told the about 300 people at the memorial service that it seemed every time government officials tried to calm the situation, a leader got killed.
He claimed that Qumbelo was due to meet officials from the eThekwini Municipality the weekend after he died.
“We have damning evidence to prove that Gwala’s assassination was… politically orchestrated. But we cannot produce it because we have lost trust in the police and the ANC leadership,” said Zikode.
“We will be engaging with our legal team which is busy probing (the) Marikana saga at the moment, to give us advice. Many of us are happy to come forward and present it (the evidence).”
Zikode claimed that the people responsible for the two murders had an interest in the Cato Crest area. “The killing of Qumbelo and Gwala was planned to instil political fear.”
He said Gwala had been instrumental in recruiting members to Abahlali baseMjondolo, an organisation that fights for shack dwellers’ rights.
Dhlomo could not be reached for comment.
But he told the Sunday Tribune that he had said at the meeting that Nxumalo, who came from the same area as Gwala, should take him back to Inchanga.
“I said: ‘If this boy can go back to Inchanga, there would be peace here.’ Do you have a problem with that? Do you call that incitement? That is your own opinion. I don’t agree with you,” Dhlomo had said.