Picture: Ivandrei Pretorius/Pixabay

Stanger - The Inkatha Freedom Party on Saturday expressed sadness at the killing of one of its councillors in the Maphumulo local municipality, north-west of Stanger in KwaZulu-Natal.

Mfanzo Nzuza, 44, was shot dead at his home KwaMambulu near Kranskop by unknown assailants on Friday night. He was an IFP ward two councillor at Maphumulo municipality since 2016 and a ward committee member from 2011 to 2016, IFP spokesman Blessed Gwala said. 

"We are very saddened by his sudden death and we are very concerned. We are calling on the police to speed up the investigation and find those who committed the heinous crime. We do not know what the motive is‚ that's why we want the police to assist us and provide us with answers," he said.

"It is shocking that as the country is celebrating Freedom Day, now as the IFP, we have to mourn for our councillor. We cannot go on like this, for a very long time we have been calling for a thorough investigation into the proliferation of illegal firearms in our communities.

"The province is increasingly becoming a [haven] for gun-toting assassins. Our communities do not feel safe anymore due to these random killings carried out by these trigger-happy criminals who know that the law is weak and that they will get away with their actions," Gwala said.

There had been a successful anti-crime campaign during the festive season and Easter holidays with visible policing and many successful stop-and-search operations. The IFP believed that these operations should continue throughout the year.

Community members and leaders had to be engaged to help curb illicit arms trafficking through the identification of gunrunners, trafficking routes, and firearm markets. In addition, government needed to revive the firearm amnesty. An amnesty allowed members of the public to voluntarily hand over firearms they should not have without being prosecuted. The country badly needed this intervention, he said.

The IFP urged government to implement strategies to recover illegal firearms in the hands of criminals to ensure they were not used to destabilise the country before and after the general election.

The availability of illegally-owned firearms was a major problem facing government in restoring security in the country. The IFP believed a national discussion about illegal firearms had to be held.

The IFP called on South Africans to have faith and support the South African Police Service (SAPS) in carrying out investigations into cases of national interest. "We urge anyone with information pertaining to this shooting incident to contact police so that the perpetrators are arrested. We also urge the criminal justice system to mete out severe punishment to those who are guilty of such brazen criminality.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Nzuza family, friends, and colleagues of the fallen councillor during this difficult time," Gwala said.

African News Agency/ANA