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Ulundi learner reportedly shot dead by taxi driver while protesting over electricity outages

Published Jul 5, 2023


A grade 12 pupil of eKudubekeni High School in Ulundi, north of KwaZulu-Natal was shot dead during a community protest over prolonged Eskom power outages in the area.

Minenhle Hlongwane was allegedly shot dead on Monday by a “rogue taxi driver” who was demanding to pass through a group of protesters blocking the road.

According to information shared by councillor Sikhumbuzo Khuzwayo, Hlongwane was part of the youth that protested over a power outage which began in April this year.

The power outages came after an Eskom transformer exploded leaving the area without power for months and prompting residents to demand a meeting and the restoration of the power.

According to Khuzwayo, Eskom later conducted an audit of consumers and found that some families in the area were not paying for electricity.

They were fined and asked to pay the money owed to the power utility for illegally connecting themselves to the grid.

It was then agreed that they should contribute the money Eskom wanted before the transformer could be restored.

“I later heard that on Monday the area’s youth took to the road to protest and show their unhappiness (of going for months power) and pay the money demanded as it was not affordable to them.

“Even the police were called in and the situation returned to normal. I later heard that the youth returned to the road to protest to voice their displeasure over the power outage,” said the councillor.

He added: “One of the shot local youth members was a grade 12 learner from Ekudubekeni high school, she died of gun wounds. We are told that the person who shot her is known, it is said that the person who pulled the trigger was a taxi driver.”

The Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal is yet to confirm whether the matter was reported to its Zululand circuit or not.

Ulundi local municipality mayor Wilson Ntshangase passed her condolences to Hlongwane’s family.

“We would like to see the police conduct a thorough investigation over this matter so that the family of the learner can get justice,” Ntshangase said.

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