Khaya Thobela: KZN ANC Leader Gunned Down


Khaya Thobela, Umzimkhulu Municipality council speaker, and ANC deputy secretary in the Harry Gwala region has died.

He died on Sunday morning after he was shot severally at his home in Emfundweni, ward 13 in Umzimkhulu on Thursday evening.

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Thobela who was an active ANC member in the region until the time of his death succumbed to the gun wounds in the hospital where he rushed to after he was shot.

His death follows a string of other killings of KwaZulu-Natal officials – most of which were linked to political killings. He was the third ANC leader to be killed in the province in two months.

Tributes have continued to pour in for the slain leader. The ANC, ANCYL KwaZulu-Natal, and the department of co-operative goverance also joined others in remembering the judicious leader.

Thobela’s family was visited on Sunday by the ANC leadership that included provincial chair Sihle Zikalala‚ secretary Super Zuma‚ his deputy Mluleki Ndobe‚ a former regional chair in Harry Gwala‚ Moses Mabhida regional chair Mthandeni Dlungwane and his secretary Mzi Zuma.

In a statement, ANC spokesman Mdumiseni Ntuli said: “The ANC has lost a great leader who has been committed to serving the people. Cde Thobela was a judicious leader who served with great diligence and commitment in the Umzimkhulu Local Municipality as the speaker.”

The kiling was also condemned by MEC for Co-operative Governance Nomusa Dube-Ncube, who has expressed shock at the level of violence directed at elected public representatives‚ traditional leaders and municipal officials in KwaZulu-Natal province.

“The passing away of councillor Thobela is a huge blow to our province’s democratic system of local government. It is unacceptable that yet another councillor in the province has been murdered. We are outraged‚ angry and shocked at the killing of the Speaker of Umzimkhulu council,” said Dube-Ncube.

Khaya Thobela took up the fulltime position as a councillor in 2011 after he resigned as the deputy principal in Ezinqolweni. He was the  leader of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) at the time.

The slain leader joined the ANCYL at a very young age and later the ANC in the Sisulu Branch. He grew up within the ranks of the ANC in Umzimkhulu and was deployed as the speaker in Umzimkhulu Local Municipality by the ANC.

Following the fatal shooting, the African National Congress in KwaZulu-Natal has called for the commission of inquiry into political killings to speed up its investigation on the matter.

Meanwhile, multiple sources have linked the assassination of the ANC deputy secretary in Harry Gwala Region, KwaZulu-Natal to the infighting over positions in the party, ahead of the upcoming elective regional conference.

Although branches are yet to nominate their candidates, Buzzsouthafrica gathered that Khaya Thobela was considering vying for the position of the regional secretary.

Weighing in, the ANC secretary in Harry Gwala Region, Sindi Msomi said it is still unclear if Thobela’s life was, at any point, threatened. Msomi revealed that several political leaders in the Harry Gwala region were provided with extra security guards after security assessments.

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Presently, there is a marginal decrease of murders in the country, although some provinces still experience an increase – according to crime statistics.

The statistics, released earlier this year, however, showed that KwaZulu Natal had a 1.7% increase in the number of killings, while murders went up by 3.7% in Gauteng and 6.8% in Mpumalanga.