University of Fort Hare vice-chancellor’s bodyguard gunned down in a suspected assassination attempt

Bodyguard killed in a suspected hit on University of Fort Hare vice-chancellor. File picture: Gerd Altman/Pixabay

Bodyguard killed in a suspected hit on University of Fort Hare vice-chancellor. File picture: Gerd Altman/Pixabay

Published Jan 8, 2023


Rustenburg - University of Fort Hare Vice-Chancellor Sakhele Buhlungu’s bodyguard was shot dead in Alice in a suspected assassination attempt.

The 52-year-old died in a hail of bullets when gunmen fired shots at his car on Friday night.

“The SAPS was alerted to the shooting incident by members of the public. On arrival at the scene, they indeed found the body of the deceased in the vehicle.

“According to the report, the driver was arriving at home of the vice-chancellor, when an unknown vehicle with unidentified occupants approached. The suspects started firing gunshots at the driver who succumbed to gunshot injuries at the scene,” Eastern Cape provincial commissioner, Lieutenant-General Nomthetheleli Mene said in a statement.

The gunmen fled the scene in a getaway vehicle.

“Police have registered a murder case for investigation. The circumstances surrounding the incident will also form part of the investigation. No arrest has made at this stage.

“We shall not sleep nor rest until these cold-blooded criminals are found,” Mene said.

University of Fort Hare, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sakhele Buhlungu, was not in the car at the time of the incident.

“Anyone with information that can lead to the arrest of the suspects, is kindly requested to please make contact with Alice Police Station or call the Crime Stop number 08600 10111,” Mene said.

The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, condemned the murder of the bodyguard he identified as Mboneli Vesele.

Nzimande said in a statement that although investigations were at an early stage, all indications were that Buhlungu was targeted.

“I outrightly condemn this barbaric murder of Mr Vesele and the attempt on the life of Prof Buhlungu. This attack is not only an attack on the University of Fort Hare, but also an attack on the entire post school education and training sector,” Nzimande said.

He appealed for calm while investigations were under way.

“I also encourage all the vice-chancellors (VC) and TVET College principals to engage with my department on all security-related issues to enable us to engage with the Cabinet security cluster, particularly on security concerns that have an impact on the institutions’ ability to perform their duties.”

The Council of Nelson Mandela University said it had noted the reports of the murder of Vesele, in what was reportedly, an attempted assassination of the vice-chancellor.

“On behalf of the Nelson Mandela University Council and university community, I would like to extend our sincere condolences to the Vesele family and the broader University of Fort Hare community, including its governing Council, Vice-Chancellor Buhlungu and his entire team,“ chairperson, Ambassador Nozipho January-Bardill, said in a statement.

“That murder and assassination are taking place in a higher education environment is a shocking reflection of the difficult times that we live in as a nation.

“As citizens of South Africa, we should never allow such acts of violence to become normalised and we call on the authorities to speedily bring the perpetrators to justice. We also call on authorities to support and protect whistle-blowers and those who are trying to root out fraud and corruption in higher education and in our society broadly.”