Shooting dashes hopes of end to Midlands killings

Hopes that a wave of arrests late last year would end politically motivated killings in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and other areas have been dashed by the murder of another ANC activist in Pietermaritzburg literally minutes into the new year.

Jabulani Mngoma, 34, a bodyguard to Msunduzi municipality speaker Jabu Ngubo, was shot dead at his home in Smero, Edendale, just after midnight on Tuesday and died shortly afterwards in hospital.

Mngoma is the third member of his family to have been murdered since 2016, when his half-brother, Simiso Mncwabe, was murdered the day after he resigned as chief financial officer of the Mooi Mpofana municipality.

A second brother, Mhlabunzima Mngoma, 30, who was also a bodyguard to Ngubo, was murdered in 2017 in Caluza township. Mhlabunzima Mngoma had, according to sources in the region, survived another assassination attempt about eight months before his death.

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele confirmed the murder of Jabulani Mngoma but said that no arrests had been made in connection with his murder or that of his siblings.

Late last year, Msunduzi municipality Ward 10 ANC councillor Nkosinathi Gambu and his cousin Gift Zungu, the son of Umgungundlovu district munici­pality deputy mayor Fucwane Zungu, were arrested for the murder of former councillor Musawenkosi Mchunu.

They, and four members of the ANC ward committee, were arrested by the task team appointed by Police Minister Bheki Cele to probe the murders in the province. They will appear in court again in February.

The region, whose leadership has been suspended by the ANC national executive committee, has suffered a number of killings of ANC councillors, municipal officials and party activists since 2016.

In Durban, Umlazi Ward 80 ANC councillor Mthokozisi Nojiyeza and his brothers Nkosingiphile and Phumlani Nojiyeza appeared in court on December 27 after being arrested for the murder of Sibusiso Maphumulo, the ANC councillor for Ward 88, in October.

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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper
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