IFP's ward chairman gunned down in KwaMashu


FILE. Looking down the barrel of a handgun.

DURBAN - The Inkatha Freedom Party’s (IFP) ward chairman in KwaMashu’s troubled hostels was gunned down, police and the IFP said on Wednesday.

Police spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane said that Mbhasbheni Biyela was walking along Vuma Road on Tuesday evening when he was approached by two men, one of whom pulled out a gun and shot him.

“He was walking along Vuma road at Shayamoya next to the hostel when he was approached by two unknown suspects. One pulled out a firearm and fired several shots fatally wounding him. He sustained wounds including one on his head, neck, chest and one on his back,” said Zwane.

Mdu Nkosi, the IFP’s caucus leader in the eThekwini Metro Municipality, said that the 55-year old Biyela had left a branch meeting when the shooting took place.

The A-section in KwaMashu has long been wracked by violence, and Ward 39 in which it is located is the only ward seat that the party controls.

Last month, on June13, Makhosi Ndebele, who was a member of the IFP’s ward committee was also gunned down.

Nkosi said that he did not wish to speculate as to who was behind the latest killing or if the killing was as a result of internal rivalry for positions.

He said that the party hoped the police would find the perpetrators of the crimes and that the judiciary would do its work.

"But I need to point out that not one person who has killed an IFP leader or member here (in Ward 39) has ever been convicted. It is a big worry for us."

The current councillor Bongomusa Zondo only visits the ward very briefly or with a police escort.

He is the third councillor since the last local government elections in 2011. Sakhile Ngcamu, who preceded him was arrested on charges of murder while Ngcamu’s predecessor Themba Xulu was allegedly abducted in 2012 by people impersonating police officers.

Xulu’s bullet-riddled body was later found in a sugar cane field.

While there has been an ongoing rivalry between the ANC and the IFP, the split in the IFP that saw its chairperson Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi leave to form her own party, the National Freedom Party, has exacerbated tensions in the ward.

KwaZulu-Natal’s MEC for for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Willies Mchunu condemned the shooting.

"We are disturbed at this unfortunate development which comes at the time when the Government was doing everything possible to ensure that peace returned to this hostel. Indeed, the hostel had enjoyed a relative peace."

No arrests have been made and a case of murder is being investigated by detectives.

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