Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Slain inkosi Mbongeleni Zondi will be honoured by naming a R10million development centre after him.

Zondi, 37, who was chief of Umsinga and a direct descendant and great-grandson of famous inkosi Bhambatha Zondi of the 1906 Poll Tax uprising, died in a hail of bullets in Umlazi last month.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for social development, Meshack Hadebe, said the official opening of the centre will take place on Saturday.

The centre will be named after Zondi "because of the role he had played in advocating for development in his rural area".

"The development centre will render social services to orphaned or abandoned children and needy senior citizens. It will also have a luncheon club service, crèche, social grants application office and many other social-related services," said Hadebe.

Provincial legislature speaker Willies Mchunu described Zondi's death as not simply tragic because it was the death of one of them, but "because of what it represented - an act of cowardice laced with sadistic execution".

He said Zondi's death cannot be condemned in a ritualistic manner "as the sanctity of life demands of all of us".

"We refuse to condemn inkosi Zondi's savagery in that fashion.

"We refuse, precisely because these thugs will relish listening to our monotone voices. We must be bold to say his death appears to have been a calculated act to end a life that had begun a journey to give a life to others.

"A life not only full of dreams, but bursting at the seams with hope," said Mchunu.

Thanking police for their bravery in arresting the suspects, Mchunu emphasised that criminals have declared a war on police and law-abiding citizens, "hence any casualties can be expected".

"We are confident that this war is winnable. Good work to the SAPS in dealing with worthless scavengers who are heavily disguised as human beings - fire shall be met with fire," he said.