The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Honourable Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, has learned with shock and sadness of the attempted assassination of the Speaker of Mkhambathini Local Municipality, Councillor Thembalikho Gwala, and the subsequent killing of his bodyguard, Samkelo Chili.

According to reports, the incident occurred on Saturday, April 29, 2023, when Cllr Gwala and his bodyguards were driving back from a community meeting in KwaNjobokazi. The assailants shot at their car several times, resulting in the tragic death of Chili.

MEC Sithole-Moloi expresses her deepest condolences to the Chili family and calls for anyone who may have information to assist the South African Police Services to swiftly bring the perpetrators to book.

“It is deeply concerning that such incidents are still happening in our province, particularly so soon after the commemoration of Freedom Day. While the motive of the attack is not yet known, we are worried about the destabilising effect that such incidents can have on our municipalities. It is imperative that speakers of all councils be able to execute their duties without fear of interference or intimidation from outside. Speakers play a crucial role in the functioning of our local councils, and it is vital that they are able to carry out their duties without fear of violence or intimidation,” said MEC Sithole-Moloi.

She calls on law enforcement agencies to act swiftly in apprehending those responsible for this heinous act and bringing them to justice.

“This kind of violence has no place in our society, and we must do all that we can to prevent it. The safety of our councillors and their staff is of utmost importance, and we must work together to ensure that they can carry out their duties without fear for their lives.

“We stand in solidarity with the people of Mkhambathini and offer our condolences to the family and friends of Samkelo Chili. We will do all that we can to ensure that justice is served,” concluded MEC Sithole-Moloi.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs will be closely monitoring the situation and offering support to the Mkhambathini Local Municipality during this difficult time.

On that sad note, MEC Sithole-Moloi is deeply saddened to hear about the passing of MR Skhumbuzo Mntambo, who was the Community Development Worker deployed by the departmetn to ward 7 in Umzumbe Local Municipality under Ugu District. Cllr Mntambo was shot earlier this week. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and colleagues during this difficult time. We condemn any form of violence and we hope that the perpetrator(s) will be brought to justice.”

Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department