Durban – The KZN ANC says it is “bleeding internally” because its members were victims of assassination-style killings, the party’s provincial interim committee convenor Mike Mabuyakhulu said on Monday.
Mabuyakhulu and ANC eThekwini regional chair and mayor Zandile Gumede visited the family of late ANC elections coordinator Nqobizwe Mkhize, 46, in Umgababa, on the south coast of Durban.
Three unknown suspects shot Mkhize dead in his home in Imfume in the early hours of Saturday.
He was shot dead while he was in bed with his wife, who is pregnant with their first child.
The gunmen apparently told her to cover herself while they shot him multiple times.
The KZN party leaders also visited the families of Nkosinathi Hlengwa and Bethuel Hlongwane, both 29, who were shot dead 15 minutes after Mkhize was killed.
“Yes, we don’t know the motives of the killings but the mere fact that one of those who have been killed is our prominent local leader here in eThekwini actually leaves us with a bitter taste.
“We want to simply say we want to echo the words of the president of the ANC and of the republic (Cyril Ramaphosa) who says we must all hunt these criminals, be able to apprehend them and throw the book at them, because that’s the only way we can stop these killings,” said Mabuyakhulu.
READ: KZN ANC elections-co-ordinator’s murder ‘linked to two others’
He said Saturday’s murders must be dealt with as a crime and added that the motives were unknown.
“It has nothing to do with the issues of forging unity within the ranks of ANC, and therefore, we don’t see any relationship between this and the processes of ANC in preparing to have regional conferences and the provincial conference,” he said.
The provincial executive committee (PEC) was suspended in January this year, following a court battle over the legitimacy of the outcomes of the 2015 provincial elective conference.
The conference saw suspended ANC KZN chair Sihle Zikalala topple Senzo Mchunu as chair of the province.
Mabuyakhulu added: “Unity is not an event; it is a process. We’re happy that we have already started the process of enhancing unity within the structures of ANC. We’re happy with the way in which we see the issue of unity being forged in practice in KZN.”
Mabuyakhulu said the Imfume killings were one of those very difficult moments for families and the society.
“I think we have seen a lot of blood, particularly where local leaders have been brutally murdered. We think that all of us, as a society, must rise and work together with law enforcement agencies to make sure they apprehend those who made these heinous deeds,” he said.
Gumede asked residents to assist law enforcement agencies in bringing “these perpetrators to book”.
KZN police said the motive for the murders was unknown.
Bongumusa Mkhize, 40, Mkhize’s cousin, said Mkhize’s wife has been in hospital since the shooting.
“She is very traumautised. She is not even here to mourn with the family. She is also due to give birth this month,” he said.
He said they had married last October.
Mkhize’s home in Imfume stood vacant as his family had moved his belongings to his family home in Umgababa “because of fear”.
“He will be buried here on Saturday,” said Bongumusa.
Bethuel Hlongwane’s uncle Nicholas Hlongwane said his nephew would also be buried on Saturday.
He said Bethuel was a respectful and peaceful young man who loved to party.
“They were coming from a party when they were attacked and shot,” he said.
He also revealed that it was public knowledge that his family was affiliated to the ANC.
He asked the leaders to prioritise the safety of the “law-abiding” community members because they were now living in fear.
Hlengwa’s family said he would also be buried on Saturday.