The Richmond Municipal has again lost another prominent figure to death. This time, the gun was fired at Richmond municipal manager Sibusiso Sithole.
39-year-old Sithole was gunned down on Victoria Street on Monday morning while driving to his office.
BuzzSouthAfrica learned that his killers posed as police officers and pulled him over as he was driving to the office. He was subsequently shot by two unknown gunmen in a maroon Toyota Corolla as he was opening the door of his vehicle.
He was shot four times through the passenger side window before the gunmen fled the scene in a car. He was driving without his bodyguards.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane confirmed the ugly development.
He said: “Around 08:45, a man believed to be in his 40s was shot by two unknown suspects on Victoria Road in Richmond. The suspects fled the scene in a getaway vehicle. The motive for the killing is still unknown at this stage.”
KwaZulu-Natal co-operative governance MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube expressed shock and disappointment at Sithole’s death.
In a statement released on Monday afternoon, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs spokesman Lennox Mabaso confirmed Sithole’s death.
“According to reports, Sithole was brutally murdered after he was called to an incident at a nearby testing station. While the details are still sketchy, it is alleged that he was pulled off the roadside by killers who posed as policemen,” he said.
Weighing in, President Zuma described Sithole’s death as tragic. He expressed concern about the ANC losing competent people who could provide services to residents.
Community Safety MEC Mxolisi Kaunda’s spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane also called on the police to assemble a team that will focus on this case, with a view of speeding up the investigation and making a breakthrough soon.
Meanwhile, a special task team has been established to investigate the murder of Richmond Municipal Manager Sibusiso Sithole.
Zwane confirmed that saying “a Task Team has been formed by the KwaZulu-Natal Acting Provincial Commissioner, Major General Bheki Langa to investigate the murder of the Richmond Municipal Manager.”
It is pertinent to note that during the late 1990s, Richmond was a hotbed of political violence. Over a hundred people were killed between April 1997 and January 1999 in the then violence-ravaged town.
Prominent leaders in the municipal have continued to express worry that Richmond is slowly regaining the reputation it had in the late 1990s as the killing field of KwaZulu-Natal.
Recently, four family members were brutally murdered in the municipality.
In 2013, councilors in Richmond town came under fire from residents. The city’s speaker Thulani Shabalala escaped a mob attack on his home when stones were thrown and his car was set alight in August.
The home of Richmond Mayor at the time, Andrew Ragavaloo was also shot at in July 2013.
In 2014, a hall, which was more than 100 years old and the office of the slain municipal manager [ Sibusiso Sithole] were burnt down in the town.
The same year, five shots were fired into councilor Jethro Jili’s Richmond home as he, his mother and two nephews slept.
Also in 2015, the municipal security manager was gunned down outside his home in Ndaleni Slahla, Richmond. At the time it was rumored the killing was politically motivated.
Meanwhile, condolences have continued to pour in. National Freedom Party spokesman, Sabelo Sigudu, described the shooting as “evil”, adding that the continuous killings in KwaZulu-Natal pose a serious concern.
He added: “The National Freedom Party (NFP) wishes to express words of condolence on the sad shooting and killing of Mr. Sithole, the Municipality Manager of Richmond Local Municipality.”
The Democratic Alliance provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango said there were allegations that Richmond Municipal Manager Sibusiso Sithole had been trying to root out corruption in the municipality.
Reports have it that Sithole’s hard work resulted in the municipality receiving a clean audit. He was named the best municipal manager in KwaZulu-Natal in 2014.