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Mayor's death 'one too many'

By unknown | Jul 01, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mhlaba Memela, Riot Hlatshwayo and Frank Maponya

Mhlaba Memela, Riot Hlatshwayo and Frank Maponya

The South African Local Government Association (Salga) yesterday called on police to step up their investigations into the murders of and attacks on mayors in the country.

This is after the slaying of Umkhambathini deputy mayor Sihlangu Mkhize near Durban at the weekend.

Salga chairman Amos Masondo said he was shocked and deeply saddened by the "barbaric" murder of Mkhize.

"The murder of Mkhize is one murder too many of elected representatives. It is a despicable act," he said.

Mkhize, 39, described by his KwaZulu-Natal Midlands constituency as "dedicated", died soon after he was shot by a lone gunman.

He was attending a traditional family function at his parents' Mid-Illovo home outside Durban when he was shot.

Residents in the area also echoed calls for police to step up their investigations.

Many in the area believe the murder was politically motivated.

ANC KZN secretary Senzo Mchunu said Mkhize was a "committed and capable" leader.

"His death is a great loss, not only to his family, but also to the ANC and the nation because of his contribution to a better life for all and his vision for our country," Mchunu said.

Police spokesman Superintendent Henry Budhram said Mkhize was about a 100 metres away from his parents' home when the gunman struck.

"The attacker fired several shots. Mkhize's brother rushed him to the clinic but he was declared dead on arrival."

l Two mayors from Mpumalanga arrested in connection with murder charges had their cases subsequently withdrawn.

In the most recent case, Milton Morema, the Bushbuckridge executive mayor accused of killing Motion Mashile and Jeffrey Sedibe about five years ago, had murder charges against him withdrawn.

Morema was arrested in April together with two other suspects after police claimed they had concluded their investigations into the two murders in 2003.

Morema was alleged to have hired a hitman to kill Mashile and then killed the alleged hitman, Sedibe, to silence him when he demanded payment.

Govan Mbeki municipality mayor Sipho Nkosi earlier had his murder case withdrawn because of a lack of evidence.

He was implicated in the murder of his deputy, Thandi Mtsweni, who was investigating alleged corruption claims in the municipality.

Mtsweni was shot dead at her home on June 27 last year and Nkosi was arrested after another suspect in the matter, Sibongile Lukhele, implicated him during one of her bail applications.

l In Limpopo, mayor of the Molemole municipality near Polokwane, Monica Mohale, was shot twice by an enraged former corporate services manager who had been declared unfit to work.

In May, the executive mayor of Mopani district municipality Humphrey Mokgobi had to run for his life when unruly youths attacked him during a meeting in Enable village in the Sekororo area near Tzaneen; and

Makhado municipality mayor Gloria Mashaba received threatening calls on May 1 that "her days were numbered".


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