Durban – Richmond municipal manager Edward Sibusiso Sithole was gunned down in an alleged ambush.

Sithole was en route from the municipal offices to the motor licence bureau at about 9am when he was shot at five times.

It is believed Sithole, who was travelling with a driver and no bodyguards, was shot at through the passenger side window when the vehicle came to a halt at a traffic light at the corner of Victoria and Campbell streets.

Police are on the lookout for a maroon Toyota Corolla with ND number plates that was last seen heading in the direction of Pietermaritzburg from Richmond.

Sources at the municipality confirmed that there had been an increase in tension among several individuals at the municipality recently.

Police spokeswoman Captain Nqobile Gwala confirmed that a shooting occurred on Monday morning but said that no further details were available.

DA provincial MPL Sizwe Mchunu expressed his condolences on Facebook. 

Mchunu said the municipal manager was set to assume duties as uMngeni Municipality’s municipal manager on March 13.

“May his soul Rest In Peace,” he posted.

Over the years, Richmond has been the scene of a spate of politically violent incidents.

In 2013, councillors in the KZN Midlands town came under fire from residents.

Speaker Thulani Shabalala escaped a mob attack on his home when stones were thrown and his car set alight in August. Mayor Andrew Ragavaloo's home was shot at in July.

The Daily News reported at the time that protesters had threatened to make the town ungovernable, demanding the removal of the municipal executive council.

In May 2014, five shots were fired into councillor Jethro Jili's Richmond home as he, his mother and two nephews slept. No one was injured, but the attack was believed to be related to an investigation into the alleged misuse of funds by a certain municipal committee.

In November 2014, the Daily News reported that Sithole's office was razed to the ground damaging the attached Memorial Hall, which was more than 100 years old.

At the time, Richmond mayor Andrew Ragavaloo said there were no problems or grievances that could have prompted the attack. Police were investigating a case of arson and malicious damage to property.

In the 2014 financial year, Richmond was one of the municipalities that was highly praised by the auditor-general for posting a clean audit outcome.

In October 2015, 41-year-old Mthulisi Ngcobo, the municipality's head of security, was shot dead outside his house in Ndaleni Slahla, Richmond.

Police said Ngcobo had worked in the security section of the municipality for more than 12 years before being promoted to senior supervisor.

He was also the brother of Richmond's deputy mayor, Philile Ngcobo.

It is alleged that Ngcobo had driven into his driveway and got out of his car to close the gate when he was shot by unknown men. The suspects then fled.

At the time it was rumoured the killing was politically motivated.

Daily News