Many members of the African National Congress (ANC) have been flummoxed by the sudden demise of another leader, whose life was abruptly cut short last week.
The ANC leader, Michael Zane Phelembe, was gunned down outside his house in Mpumalanga on Friday night. Prior to his tragic end, he was the deputy chairman in Pienaar’s Ward 23.
Phelembe’s death has however been perceived as a political hit by his friends. According to the leader’s friend, Jealous Nyalunga, “Zane has been saying there are people, whom he called by their names, who were after his life.
He also recalled that “Zane stood by the ideas he believed in and was against manipulation of the ANC processes, especially on councillors’ nominations.”
Speaking to reporters, Nyalunga expressed fear about his own life, stating that Phelembe’s foes knew how close they both were. He said, “Yes, we are scared, we know that these people who killed him know that he was telling us everything. There was a time when they threatened to burn his house and he went into hiding.”
He added that Phelembe was a leader who was not enticed by positions and was passionate about the movement.
“He was a leader who led from behind, positions were not his niche. I don’t even understand why his killers were threatened by him.
We have really been robbed of a great man. I have served with him in the ANCYL regional executive committee during the era of Julius Malema, he was an intelligent man who stood for nothing but principles and was always laughing.”
Meanwhile, spokeswoman for the Pienaar police, Lieutenant Jabu Ndubane, confirmed that Phelembe died at the Nelspruit Medi-Clinic having been shot once in the head.
“Police got information on Friday night that the deceased has been shot outside the gate of his home on Friday night.
“Upon [police] arrival at the crime scene, the deceased was sent to the Medi-Clinic where he died. Police are investigating a murder charge, but no one has been arrested yet.
“Ndubane also pleaded with members of the public to assist the police with reliable information to help commence investigation.
Following Phelembe’s death, former provincial executive committee member of the ANC, Peter Nyoni, said the party has lost an active and promising leader.
Mpumalanga has in recent years been notorious for suspected political killings. The beleaguered province has so far recorded a total number of 10 deaths linked to political attacks- Phelembe’s death inclusive.
In February two people were killed in Pienaar during protests by dissatisfied ANC members over the nomination process of candidates for local elections.
In March also, Moreko Mahlobogoana, who was working for the finance department in the Dr JS Moroka local municipality, was shot once in the head and left in the cemetery in an attack believed to be politically motivated.
ANC Facing Tough Times
The ANC’s ship has recently been rocked by chaos, internal cold war and deaths, ranging from Zuma’s fallout on Nkandla saga, tussle in KwaZulu-Natal and the sudden death of Mangaung Deputy Executive, Mayor Connie Rampai.
See Also: ANC Loses Another Activist In Auto Crash
Comrade Rampai died in a car accident in the early hours of Saturday morning after her vehicle collided head-on with a heavy goods truck.
Spokesperson for Trauma Response Africa Stanley Schimper, said the crash occurred on the N1 between Verkeerdevlei and Winburg.
Rampai died while driving back to Bloemfontein from the African National Congress (ANC)’s provincial executive committee meeting in Johannesburg.