The African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has called on law enforcement agencies to track down the shooters behind the Thursday murder of its former member of the provincial legislature (MPL) and the party’s former deputy chair, 65-year-old Zibuse Mlaba.
KZN police spokesperson, Brigadier Jay Naicker said on Thursday that the police in Camperdown are investigating a case of murder after at 8.45am they received a report of a shooting at a shopping centre at Cator Ridge where they found the body of a 65-year-old man with multiple gunshot wounds.
Naicker said the 65-year-old was allegedly shot by two armed men while opening a office at the shopping centre and that the suspects fled the scene in a getaway vehicle.
Naicker added that according to police at the scene, nothing was taken from the victim.
The ANC in KZN has said it is “devastated” by Mlaba’s murder.
“The killing of Cde Mlaba has robbed the ANC of a disciplined leader who, over the years, dedicated his life to advancing the Mass Democratic Movement agenda.
“The ANC is highly disturbed by the assassination of its true revolutionary leader who always guided by a great principles of the movement.
“We are deeply shocked and outraged by this senseless killing of our leader. We have lost one of the most dedicated cadres and community workers in the province,” the ANC in KZN said.
The party said while Mlaba was regent of the KwaXimba clan, in Ward 1 of eThekwini, he had challenged the traditional way of life in the clan which led to his life being threatened on several occasions by warlords.
According to the ANC, Mlaba became a regent after his brother was murdered in 1987 because his slain brother’s son, the current iNkosi of kwaXimba, had not come of age.
“Cde Zibuse and a handful of progressive traditional leaders, including the late iNkosi Molefe of eNquthu, bravely led Contralesa during the turbulent era of internecine political violence in KwaZulu-Natal and had signed their death warrants for simply aligning themselves with the Congress Movement.
“He was part of the Contralesa delegation that visited the then banned ANC in Lusaka in 1989 to introduce this progressive structure of traditional leadership that dared to operate right inside the hostel cauldron of the erstwhile KwaZulu Bantustan Government led by Inkatha.”
The ANC said Mlaba “became more prominent” in its then Natal Midlands region after the party was unbanned in the early 90s.
“He was popularly elected repeatedly to the Natal Midlands Region Executive Committee of the ANC and grew ANC membership in KwaXimba to unprecedented levels as it became one of the strongest, vibrant and largest branch of the then Natal Midlands Region. The branch is still the largest ANC branch in the country.”
Mlaba, the party said, was also instrumental in recruiting many traditional leaders who were aligned to the Inkatha Freedom Party to the ANC.
“He was also a development activist for the people of KwaXimba as he partnered with African Rainbow Minerals Chairman Patrice Motsepe when he acquired the Assmang plant in Cato Ridge. He also brokered the stalemate between wrangling oil companies that resulted in the construction of the two service stations along the N3, BP Oasis and Engen One Stop.
“He was instrumental in the investment of the Safal Steel factory in Cato Ridge. He also served as an ANC MPL in the KZN Legislature serving in various portfolio committees including Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Conservation and Human Settlements.”
The ANC in KZN sent its “heartfelt condolence” to the Mlaba family, friends, comrades and the community of KwaXimba.
“Ulale kahle qabane, we will pick up your spear and continue to serve the community for the attainment for a better life for all.”
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