Family baffled over motive for ‘hit’ on Imbali councillor

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Joined: Aug 2016

The distraught family of Msunduzi municipality ward 41 councillor Mabhungu Mkhize who was shot dead in his car on Friday afternoon are baffled over the motive for his murder.

His brother Mzwamandla Mkhize — who had been travelling with family member Sibongile Mkhize  and children — said their peaceful afternoon had turned to misery when they came across Mkhize’s vehicle. 

“It was just terrible. We are fearful as to what would happen to our family. We are at risk,” he said.

Sibongile said they were alarmed by the “commotion” only to learn that Mkhize had been shot.

“It was only when we disembarked from the vehicle, we saw Mabhungu’s car had crashed and come to a stop,” she said. 

Mkhize, 48, succumbed to his injuries while his passenger was wounded.

“We saw him gasping. I knew that he was not going to make it. We are gutted,” said Sibongile. 

She said the victim had been a towering figure who had played an integral role in the politics in the area.

“No-one could contest him on anything. He was always full of ideas and a diligent community worker,” said Sibongile. 

Mzwamandla said his brother was a private person, who had never shared any information about his life being under threat.

The ward is in the volatile Imbali Unit 14 township, recently in the news for violent shootings. 

Mzwamandla said his elder brother had been a pillar of the family: “He was a straight talker and was never afraid to give you a dressing down.” 

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Col Robert Netshiunda said Plessislaer police had arrested two suspects, aged 23 and 27. 

“It was reported that the suspects approached the vehicle and opened fire at the occupants,” said Netshiunda. 

The driver tried to flee but lost control of the vehicle and it crashed into a house.

ANC Moses Mabhida regional chairperson Mzimkhuli Thebolla said the party had been dealt a heavy blow by Mkhize’s death.

Thebolla, who is also the city’s mayor, said he had worked very closely with the deceased.

“We are pained by this. His demise came just hours after we had sat with him in a special full council at the city hall. He was jovial and upbeat about things but unfortunately this has happened” said Thebolla. 

He described the councillor as a “people’s leader” who took his job seriously after being elected in a by-election after the death of his predecessor due to ill health. 

Having served with Mkhize on the council’s financial portfolio committee, he said Mkhize had endeared himself to many of his contemporaries and political adversaries. 

“On August 24 Mkhize had assembled the community and leaders to pray for the violence gripping his ward. I know violence is widespread in the township but it was Mkhize’s ward which had come to be known as a hotbed. This is obviously after a massacre which had claimed the lives of at least 10 people earlier this year,” said Thebolla.


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