IFP fury at murder of top leader

Mary Papayya and Mhlaba Memela

Mary Papayya and Mhlaba Memela

The IFP is outraged after one of its senior leaders was gunned down in what the party believes was a "politically motivated" attack.

The IFP said yesterday Sabelo Zondi was the victim of a drive-by shooting at Empangeni late on Sunday.

Zondi was regional organiser at Madlankala-Esikhawini (Empangeni) on the North Coast.

A passenger in the vehicle was wounded. The party says the shooting came after Zondi allegedly received death threats from the ANC.

IFP provincial secretary Bonginkosi Buthelezi said Zondi and a passenger were travelling in his car when people on the roadside fired at him about 8pm on Sunday.

Zondi was shot several times and died at the scene. The passenger was not injured.

Buthelezi said Zondi had recruited 70 members from the ANC into the IFP in recent weeks.

"His hard work in the community earned him gratitude from local IFP sympathisers as well as threats from ANC supporters. He will be sorely missed," he said.

He said his party has offered to fully cooperate with the police in the investigation.

"We are worried about the latest development.

"We hope the police will fast-track their investigation. We do not want to speculate about the incident but it's politically motivated. "

Superintendent Jay Naicker said police only learnt from the media that the dead man was an IFP member.

"We received reports from our station in the area that the person killed was in a parked vehicle in Esikhawini with a female passenger when they were fired on.

"We did not know that he was a senior IFP member. We are investigating a murder case," said Naicker.