A Free State vehicle theft unit police officer was found murdered in a park behind his office in Welkom, police said.

Durban - A 37-year-old Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) member was shot dead in Durban's KwaMashu township on Monday.

A crowd of about 400 people gathered where the man fell and died, and sang while his relatives cried, according to a Sapa reporter at the scene.

Several armed police officers secured the scene in KwaMashu's A-section while detectives examined it.

The man's identity was not released by police, but local IFP members confirmed that he was the party's “block chairman”.

Three cartridge casings were seen lying next to his body.

Official police comment could not be obtained and it was not clear whether the killing was politically motivated.

The area, which is home to a number of hostels and shacks, has been wracked by violence between the IFP and the National Freedom Party. - Sapa