Durban – A Msunduzi Municipality (Pietermaritzburg) bodyguard who was being investigated for possible links to political killings in KwaZulu-Natal was shot dead at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
One of KwaZulu-Natal’s police spokespersons, Colonel Thembeka Mbhele, told African News Agency (ANA) on Wednesday that “at about 12.01am” Jabulani Mngoma, 34, was gunned down outside his home in a township near Pietermaritzburg.
“On 1 January 2019…a 34-year-old male was at his home in Smero location (Edendale) when an unknown male fired gunshots at him and fled. He was taken to hospital where he later died. A case of murder was opened at the Plessislaer police station for investigation,” said Mbhele.
She said the motive for the killing was unclear and that family and friends witnessed the shooting, which took place while fireworks displays lit up the night sky.
“At this stage, the shooting has not been transferred to the special task team until further investigations have been done,” said Mbhele.
Mngoma was the bodyguard to Msunduzi Municipality speaker, Jabu Ngubo.
In October last year, ANA reported that Mngoma was released on warning by the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court after being arrested days earlier in connection with the murder of African National Congress (ANC) ward 12 branch chairperson Nathi Hlongwa, who was killed in June 2016.
Mngoma was arrested by members of the South African Police Service’s special task team, which was assembled by Police Minister Bheki Cele to probe politically motivated killings in the province.
Hlongwa died in a hail of bullets at his home in Imbali Township, just weeks after another branch member, who also served as Mpofana Municipality chief financial officer, Simo Mncwabe, was killed in an apparent ambush. Mncwabe and Mngoma were half-brothers.
Another of Mngoma’s half-brothers, Mhlabunzima Bruce Mngoma, was shot and killed in Caluza in 2017. While off-duty at the time, he also worked as a bodyguard for speaker Ngubo.
Ngubo told ANA on Wednesday that Jabulani Mngoma had worked as her protector for five years, first when she was on the executive committee of the council and then from when she took office as speaker in 2016.
“He leaves behind a mother, sister, brothers, one child and the children of his late brothers who he was looking after,” said Ngubo.
“We can’t yet speculate as to the reason for the killing. He was off-duty at the time enjoying the festivities like all of us.”
She said while the council was not involved in the funeral preparations, she was in direct contact with the family.
A memorial service would be held at Caluza Hall outside Pietermaritzburg on Friday starting at 3 pm, said Ngubo. The funeral would take place on Saturday.