ANC councillor killed in hail of bullets at his Umlazi home

ANC councillor Bhekithemba Phungula

An ANC councillor, Bhekithemba Phungula, was shot dead on Tuesday night by unknown gunmen. His murder comes just a few weeks after two other party leaders were gunned down.

Phungula was the Ward 84 councillor and also a branch chairman.

He was “killed in a hail of bullets by unknown assailants at his Umlazi home”, said the party.

ANC eThekwini regional task team coordinator Mluleki Ndobe described the killing as “callous and cowardly”.

“The African National Congress in the eThekwini region is deeply disturbed by the shockingly vicious, callous and cruel murder of comrade Phungula. We implore the police to spare no effort to bring the perpetrator or perpetrators of this dastardly act to justice. There must be neither refuge nor respite from the arm of the law for the murderers of comrade Phungula,” he said.

Provincial ANC spokesperson Ricardo Mthembu said the party was deeply troubled at the latest violent incident.

“We have been observing these killings of our councillors and our leaders at branch and ward level. We are very much concerned. Our delegation, led by eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, is still with the family. We will speak after that consultation has concluded,” he said.

The killing comes just weeks after another office bearer was killed in the north of the province.

Phillip Mkhwanazi was a councillor at the Mtubatuba local municipality and also served as the ANC chief whip. He was shot dead in May. Ethekwini ANC Youth League branch secretary Thamsanqa Kingdom Gcabashe was shot dead in the Hammarsdale area on the same day.

IFP councillor Thengezakhe Maphanga also died in a hail of bullets earlier in May.

Ndobe said violence against political leaders was rearing its ugly head.

“Whatever the motive may be, we want to get to the bottom of the reason behind the murder of comrade Phungula. His children have lost a father, his wife a husband and the community has lost a leader. Our condolences go out to all his family and friends,” he said.

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