A 42-year-old Induna of the Shabalala traditional authority, as well as three others, have been brutally killed at her home in Charlestown by unknown assailants.
The assassins had allegedly shot multiple shots at the house, killing Nonani Mahlaba’s 22-year-old son Thando Mahlaba, and his visiting friend Asanda Zikhali, 19 as well as the Induna and a neighbour.
According to reports, Mahlaba fled the house to her neighbour's house in an attempt to inform them of the incident. This was when the gunmen spotted her and that’s when they finished her off.
The incident sparked yet again calls for a commission of inquiry into the reasons behind the spate of killings of amakhosi and izinduna in the province.
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) provincial chairperson, Thami Ntuli, expressed his party’s deepest condolences and condemned in the strongest terms the tragic murder of Induna Lucia Nonina Mahlaba.
Ntuli described Mahlaba as a revered female traditional leader of the Shabalala Traditional Council in Emadlangeni.
He continued to say the IFP was appalled by this heinous and horrific attack that claimed the lives of Induna Mahlaba, her son, a friend, and a brave neighbour, Mama Shonaphi Mbatha.
“The IFP in KZN is shocked by the brutality of the act, and we extend our heartfelt condolences to the Mahlaba, Mbatha, and Zikhali families.
“This incident is not only a profound loss for the affected families but a dark moment for our communities, threatening the stability of our traditional leadership institutions.”
Ntuli added that the party had consistently advocated for the protection of traditional leaders, recognising their pivotal role in preserving our cultural heritage and fostering community cohesion.
“The murder of Induna Lucia Nonina Mahlaba underscores the urgency of addressing the safety and security of our traditional leaders,” he added.
The party called on the law enforcement agencies in KwaZulu-Natal to swiftly and thoroughly investigate this brutal crime.
“Justice must be served, and the perpetrators brought to book, to face the full might of the law. We appreciate the efforts of the neighbours who bravely intervened, attempting to aid the Mahlaba family during this distressing ordeal.”
The provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs described the incident as inhumane and unsettling.
“It is deeply troubling that defenceless women and young men lost their lives in this manner. We commend the bravery of the neighbours who tried to help the Mahlaba family during this harrowing ordeal,” the department said in a statement.
The latest killing of Mahlaba brings the number of assassinated amakhosi and izinduna in the province over the past three years to 51. It’s not yet clear what is the motive behind the killings.
Her brutal murder also comes hot on the heels of the murder of another traditional leader. Inkosi Siphamandla Khumalo, of the Amantungwa traditional authority in the same jurisdiction, who was shot dead.
Khumalo was killed, together with his wife, Queen MaDlamini-Khumalo, while they were in their vehicle.
Despite pressure from the IFP to establish an inquiry into the killings of traditional leaders, nothing has materialised. The IFP is the main opposition party in the KZN legislature.
“It is high time for the KZN provincial government, under the leadership of Premier Nomusa Dube-Mcube, to admit that it has failed to protect Amakhosi,” the IFP said.
KZN police failed to give The Star a comment when contacted.