Mlungisi Shandu, principal at Thimoni Primary school in Mid-Illovo, was ambushed with his girlfriend, Sindisiwe Mvubu, on Sunday. Picture: Supplied
Mlungisi Shandu, principal at Thimoni Primary school in Mid-Illovo, was ambushed with his girlfriend, Sindisiwe Mvubu, on Sunday. Picture: Supplied

KwaZulu-Natal school principal, girlfriend slain in brutal village ambush

By Nkululeko Nene Time of article published Apr 11, 2021

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Durban - The killing of a KwaZulu-Natal school principal and his girlfriend has sparked fears that a “village war” could break out to avenge their deaths.

Mlungisi Shandu, the principal of Thimoni Primary School in the village of Nsongeni, near Richmond, and Sindi Mvubu were shot dead while sitting in a bakkie on Sunday evening.

Both Shandu, 53, and Mvubu, 38, died instantly. Nine shots were fired at the vehicle.

Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said police were investigating charges of murder. Gwala said the motive for the killing and the suspects were still unknown.

Shandu has been described as a fearless member of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) who had been at the forefront of addressing issues affecting teachers in the uMgungundlovu district.

The deceased man’s brother, Doctor Shandu, also a principal (Nsikakazi Secondary School), said they were shattered after receiving the news at dawn on Monday. He said the bakkie in which the couple was sitting had been riddled with bullets.

Shandu said their bodies were slumped over the seats in positions that looked like they had both been pleading with the killers.

“The blood spattered on both front seats and over the windscreen and door pads. The scene was a huge mess. I will never forget what I saw. I am seething with anger. My younger brother was a peaceful man who was adored by the community because of his role, he was a people’s person, and how very dedicated he was to his work. I often discussed and sought advice from him when faced with administrative issues such as absenteeism due to the Covid pandemic,” said Shandu.

Shandu said they were following all leads so that the family could find closure.

Mvubu’s sister, Xolisile, said the family was shocked by the cruel death suffered by Sindisiwe. She said they were searching for answers as to why their sister was killed, because she had no enemies.

Families of the couple have ruled out that their killing was a crime of passion.

A neighbour who chose not to be named said Shandu’s death could be linked to a feud he had with a school governing body member. She feared his death could spark a village war.

She said the village was once ravaged by a war that had claimed many lives.

“People are tired of fighting, but may want vengeance after Shandu’s death. Three decades ago, two villages were involved in a deadly fight that claimed more than 10 lives.

“People died and there was nothing to reclaim after the war except disruption caused by the war. Families were displaced from the area,” she said.

Mkhambathini mayor Eric Ngcongo said when he visited the Mvubu family, he was told that the deceased couple was found dead the following morning by a passer-by.

“We are also scared that this incident could spark a village war. We urge police to speed up the investigation before people act irresponsibly and take the law into their own hands,” said Ngcongo.

Shandu is survived by six children, while Mvubu left behind two kids. Both were buried in their village homes yesterday.

Sunday Tribune

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