Abahlali baseMjondolo, the shack dwellers movement that began in Durban, is reeling from the apparent assassination of one of its leaders in the city on Tuesday night.

S’fiso Ngcobo, the movement’s chairperson in eKukhayeni, was murdered by three unknown gunmen.

Abahlali spokesperson Sbu Zikode told News24 that the organisation was “deeply hurt, because this was not just a leader, he was a father to his kids, an uncle and a breadwinner.

“He had a family; he was a good man. But this is nothing new. There have been ongoing threats that highlight our struggle. Lots of our leaders get death threats around the city.”

READ: Abahlali baseMjondolo reveals murders, corruption at Moerane Commission

Zikode said that in the last eight months, five of its leaders had been killed.  

“Yet there are no investigations or arrests. There is silence. Our lives count for nothing. Only politicians’ lives seem to matter.”

According to Zikode, Ngcobo had been outside his house when the three gunmen arrived.

“They walked up to his home and just fired shots unprovoked. There was no argument. They just shot. He sustained three bullet wounds. He was rushed to hospital and died on arrival.”

Zikode said it was unclear who the assailants were.

“They just walked away. The community was shocked, and this morning we are going back there. We want to extend our condolences to them.”

Zikode said the movement had “lost confidence in police”.

‘Mafia and gangsters’

“The police station is 3km from his home and it took police three hours to arrive. I had to drive to the police station to ask when they will get to the scene. Only then did they start moving.”

Zikode added: “Our history and trends tell us that the eThekwini Municipality is involved.

“The same authorities entrusted to develop our communities have become gangsters and monsters. It is run by mafia and gangsters.”

Speaking to News24, Mthunzi Gumede, spokesperson for eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede, said the municipality passed its condolences on to the family. He also denied Zikode’s allegations.

“The comments are unfortunate, unfounded, baseless and reckless. Anyone with evidence should immediately go to police. We also call on police to investigate the matter and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele confirmed that Ngcobo had died upon arrival at hospital.

“The motive for the attack is unknown. A case of murder was opened at Marianhill police station for investigation.”

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