/ 8 December 2023

‘No faith in SAPS’: DA takes probe into murder of uMngeni chief whip into own hands

Nhlalayenza Ndlovu
DA uMngeni chief whip, Nhlalayenza Ndlovu. Photo supplied

The reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of those responsible for the murder of uMngeni Municipality’s Chief Whip has increased to R200 000, with the Democratic Alliance also vowing to appoint an independent prosecutor and investigating team to probe the killing.

This was announced by the DA leader in KwaZulu-Natal, Francois Rodgers, during a press briefing on Thursday.

Nhlalayenza Ndlovu (46) was shot multiple times by unknown gunmen while he was at his home in Emasosheni, along the R617 near the Mpophomeni township in Howick, on Tuesday evening.

Rodgers said there was a bigger picture behind the murder, which he called a political hit.

“We are going to do a few things as the party because we have no faith in SAPS. We will be appointing an independent prosecutor and an investigating team that will investigate the murder of councillor Ndlovu.

“That’s how we’ll get to the bottom of this, because if I were to wait for Bheki Cele, he’ll probably tell me to shut up and we’ll actually wait forever for the issue to be dealt with.”

Rodgers said he had written to every political leader in the province calling for a dialogue on political violence and the killing of izinduna, but only one political party responded.

He said it was “shocking” for political leaders not to respond.

“The DA is not happy with this and we won’t lie down. We will take this matter further,” he said.

Political killings at local government level are not uncommon in KwaZulu-Natal, but the assassinations are most often within the ranks of the African National Congress, with greed and access to lucrative tenders being a driving factor. This was according to the Moerane Commission, which was established in 2016 to look into political violence in the province.

According to the Moerane report: “There was ample evidence before the Commission that acts of omission and commission by the police, through incompetence or political manipulation, has led to a loss of public confidence in the criminal justice system, but especially the police services and security agencies in general, including crime intelligence, national intelligence, and the specialised policing and prosecution agencies.”

Land invasion disputed

Commenting on what may have led to the murder of Ndlovu, Rodgers said there was land invasion in uMngeni Municipality orchestrated by a particular political party.

He added there are also houses worth millions of rand connecting electricity illegally.

“The information I am getting is that there are a lot of homes being built on Ingonyama Trust land, and also on land where they are built illegally where residents have put in their own electricity infrastructure and are now connecting illegally to the town’s electricity.

“The municipality is running a campaign to ensure that people pay for their services and those who do not are disconnected. I’m not an investigator, but this is what needs to come out from the investigation,” said Rodgers.

On Wednesday, the province’s MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs, Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, said via a statement that she was “particularly saddened that incidents of killing our democratically elected councillors continue to happen in our municipalities at a time when we thought the dark cloud had passed as our democracy has matured.”

She called on the public to work with police in securing the arrest of Ndlovu’s killers.

An unedited version of this article first appeared in The Witness.