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Hitman who allegedly tried to kill councillor in KwaZulu-Natal apprehended by community

Councillor Mphathiseni Manqele was wounded in the assassination attempt. Picture: Supplied

Councillor Mphathiseni Manqele was wounded in the assassination attempt. Picture: Supplied

Published Aug 23, 2023


A mission by an alleged hitman to kill a councillor in Nongoma in northern KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday morning, ended badly when he was apprehended by the community.

The alleged hitman tried to kill Mphathiseni Manqele, a councillor of the National Freedom Party (NFP) in ward 4 under Nongoma local municipality in the Zululand district.

Manqele was on his way to Thokazi Primary school near KwaKhethomthandayo royal palace, where he is a principal, when the hitman pounced on him while he was navigating his way out of the traffic jam around St Benedictine Hospital.

The hitman failed to kill Manqele and then tried to flee, but the community that lives around the regional hospital apprehended him until the police arrived and saved him from mob justice that was already being carried out.

Manqele was seriously wounded, and he is currently in one of the hospitals in the province, battling for his life.

The alleged hitman, who has yet to appear in court, has since been unmasked as a VIP protection officer, but it is not clear which company he works for.

His name is known to IOL, but it will be withheld until he appears in court.

In some of his pictures posted on Facebook, the alleged hitman is seen in full work uniform and brandishing a rifle. In another one, he is seen carrying a revolver.

During the Moerane Commission, which was probing political killings in KZN, it was revealed that some hitmen work for security companies and use licensed firearms to carry out hits on behalf of those who hire them.

The secretary of the NFP in the province, Zandile Myeni said the war directed at their councillors in Nongoma is far from over.

She was referring to the recent killing of Ntombenhle Mchunu, who was also a councillor in the same municipality.

Myeni thanked the community of St Benedictine for standing up and apprehending the alleged hitman the moment he shot at Manqele.

She added that the MEC of Community Safety and Liaison, Sipho Hlomuka, the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Bongi Sithole-Moloi, and the Minister for Police, Bheki Cele, should intensify the issue of safety for councillors in KZN.

"This is one of many incidents we strongly condemn and believe it will lead to more arrests, as we have lost many of our councillors as NFP through such evil incidents," Myeni said.

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