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Durban - AN ANC leader was killed and his girlfriend is in a serious condition after gunmen opened fire on them at KwaMashu Hostel on Sunday night.

This is the sixth killing at the hostel this year.

Sithembiso Biyela, 35, who was the hostel’s deputy chairman, had been with his girlfriend, Buyisile Hlongwa, 33, when the shooting happened.

Hlongwa was admitted to hospital.

Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu condemned the attacks after meeting police and community leaders this morning.

Biyela defected from the IFP to the ANC earlier this year.

His duties as deputy chairman included assisting with housing allocation and peace keeping.

Provincial ANC secretary Sihle Zikalala said Biyela’s death came only a week after by-elections at the hostel, which made them suspect it was politically-motivated.

He said they were concerned about the spate of killings in the area.

“We urge police to monitor the area,” Zikalala said.

Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said Biyela and Hlongwa were shot at Jabula Road at the hostel.

“The man died at the scene and the woman was taken to hospital.

“The motive for the killing is unknown at this stage and there have been no arrests,” said Zwane.

IFP spokesman Mduduzi Nkosi said they were baffled by the killing because it came two months after a block chairman was murdered.

“We are now not sure what is going on in KwaMashu. We do not know whether these killings are politically related or just acts of crime. We are very confused,” he said.

At the end of January Mzuvele Ngcobo, who was the hostel’s block chairman, was shot dead. He was an IFP member.

Community Safety and Liaison spokesman Sipho Khumalo said they were shocked at the latest shooting, especially after intense efforts to stabilise the area. “We believe we had brought stability in the area and the MEC was satisfied with the by-election results as well as the state of security in the area,” he said.

National Freedom Party (NFP) secretary-general Nhlanhla Khubisa said they were saddened by the news.

“The NFP would like to convey its condolences to the members of the bereaved families. It is yet another sad day in the province,” Khubisa said.

He urged law enforcement agencies to investigate the killing swiftly and ensure that the criminals were arrested and jailed.

“What the perpetrators have done is barbaric and ruthless. They deserve to rot in jail.

“Law enforcement agencies have to do everything possible to arrest the criminals, otherwise such a situation would render the upcoming elections not free and fair,” said Khubisa.

He also called for calm from the people of KwaMashu and for them to allow police the space to investigate this “ruthless killing”.

Daily News