KwaZulu Natal premier’s bodyguard shot dead
By Mayibongwe Maqhina
DURBAN – Premier Senzo Mchunu’s bodyguard has been gunned down, heightening tensions in the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal and raising fears it could lead to further bloodshed.
Xolani Nkosi was found dead with multiple bullet wounds in Empangeni at the weekend, fuelling conspiracy theories that his murder may have been a revenge killing.
Factions in the ANC have accused supporters of Mchunu of having a hand in the death of ANC regional boss, Thulani Mashaba.
Mashaba, 42, who had been aligned to a faction against the premier, died in a car crash near Ballito earlier this month. The Road Traffic Management Corporation was quoted on Monday as saying the investigation into the crash would be finalised this week.
On Monday, a source close to Mchunu said Nkosi’s death was now being investigated by police intelligence, after a warning was allegedly posted on social media saying that while one faction buried their own (Mashaba), the other would also be left heartbroken (Nkosi).
The source said some people in the anti-Mchunu faction were disputing that the crash was an accident.
“They say the premier bewitched him and now they want to hurt him. The people close to the premier are shocked by the situation,” the source said.
“He is very concerned because he has had no issues with insizwa (young man – a reference to Mashaba).”
Mashaba, the chairman of the ANC’s Musa Dladla region and deputy mayor of the Richards Bay uThungulu District Municipality, was a strong ally of the ANC’s provincial secretary, Sihle Zikalala, who has been touted in some circles as a challenger to Mchunu for chairmanship of the province.
On Monday night Zikalala warned against wild statements linking the death of Mashaba to the supporters of the premier and to the killing of Mchunu’s bodyguard.
Zikalala said Mchunu briefed the ANC provincial leadership about the death of the bodyguard at their meeting on Monday.
“It is something terrible; it is bad. We condemn it. That is a criminal activity that can’t be allowed,” Zikalala said.
Police spokesman Major Thulani Zwane said Nkosi, 24, was found dead in Inkomo Street in Dumisane Makhaye Village on Friday.
“The motive is unknown. Empangeni police are investigating a case of murder and no arrest has been made at this stage,” Zwane said.
According to an unconfirmed report, Nkosi had just arrived home and was shot by three men travelling in a VW Golf.
Mchunu’s spokesman Sibusiso Magwaza said on Monday that the office of the premier could not comment on conspiracy theories.
“What other people say is based on their sources. As the office of the premier we do not have those sources of information, we depend on the police,” Magwaza said.
Magwaza said Mchunu was not concerned about his own safety.
“The only thing the premier is worried about is how to reach out to Nkosi’s family and bury him with dignity,” he said.
Zakhele Ndlovu, University of KwaZulu-Natal political science lecturer, said the latest developments in the ANC spelt trouble for the organisation, especially since Mashaba had claimed this year that there had been three attempts on his life.
“That fingers are pointed at a senior politician raises some problems,” Ndlovu said.
He also said it would create more problems should those who killed Nkosi be linked to an ANC faction.
Speedy arrest of the culprits was important for calming tensions in the ANC. “If it goes unsolved for a prolonged period, there will be suspicion and it’s going to fuel violence.
“It is important the police get to the bottom of the cause of the accident and the killing of the bodyguard. I hope these are not connected, otherwise it will be bad for the province,” Ndlovu said. Daily News (South Africa)