KwaZulu-Natal police are on the hunt for at least two gunmen who shot dead Independent Media photojournalist Bongani Mbatha.
The 51-year-old was killed on Tuesday evening at his Hammarsdale home.
KZN police spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda said Mpumalanga police were investigating a case of murder following an incident that occurred at Woodyglen Area.
“A 51-year-old man’s body was found inside a backroom with multiple gunshot wounds.
“It is alleged that two men were seen running away from the scene and the victim was declared dead on scene.”
Since news of his passing, message of condolences have been streaming in.
Mbatha has been employed as a photojournalist at the Independent Media since 2011.
Over the years, he has documented with his lens, history for various Independent Media titles including the Sunday Tribune, The Mercury, Isolezwe, Post and the Daily News. His pictures have appeared on IOL extensively.
Mbatha had been assigned as a photojournalist for Isolezwe at the time of his death.
Independent Media’s non-executive chairman Dr Iqbal Survé said the media group “supports the police in their endeavours to get to the bottom of the senseless killing of our photographer”.
Independent Media CEO Takudzwa Hove said: “The senseless murder of veteran photographer Bongani Mbatha has shocked everyone at Independent Media, in particular his colleagues at the company’s KZN offices where he was highly respected for his dedication and commitment. Our heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones. We fully support any initiative to bring his murderers to account.
“We call on the Minister of Police to act urgently to combat crime and create safer communities throughout the country. Senseless killings have to stop, gender-based violence has to stop, crime and gangsterism have to stop and perpetrators must be brought to book with the urgency that all South Africans deserve.”
Shelley Kjonstad, Independent Media’s KZN photographic editor said they were in great shock.
“This is a deep loss to everyone who knew Bongani. He was not only one of the most hard working photographers, but he was one of the most kindest people.”
Kjonstad said Mbatha had a creative eye for photography.
In a statement the company said that Bongani has been with Independent Media for the past 12 years and served the company with professionalism.
“This is, indeed, a great loss to the company and the publication as Bongani served Independent with great dedication and diligence.
“He was a gentle and delightful gentleman and will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.”
Mbatha is survived by his elderly mother and six-year-old son.
Details of the funeral have not been confirmed yet.
UPDATE: The Office of King Misuzulu is mourning the passing of Bongani Mbatha, a senior and talented photographer who was gunned down at his home in Hammarsdale, Durban, on Tuesday night. The office says Mbatha diligently covered the reburial of Queen Thomozile Ndwandwe,— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) July 19, 2023
Bongani Mbatha one of thee most kind hearted journalist I’ve known. 🤍— Nhlanhla Mabaso (@_NMabaso) July 19, 2023
Shot and killed at his home in Hammarsdale, west of Durban yesterday. 💔
Rest in peace Shandu ka Ndaba. 🙌🏻🙏🏿 pic.twitter.com/kf7cXGKdX5