The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has been rocked by the murder of its proportional representation councillor, Mthembeni Majola. He was gunned down in Estcourt on 16 August.

Two other people travelling with him sustained serious injuries in what was an ambush on wheelchair bound Majola. While details of the shooting remain sketchy, Estcourt police are investigating the murder. It is alleged that Majola was a co-accused in a conspiracy, but the motive remains unknown. KwaZulu-Natal MEC of Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mxolisi Kaunda has called for calm in Estcourt following Majola’s killing.

IFP leadership at the home of Mthembeni Majola

“We appeal to members of the community to stop speculating on the motive behind Majola’s killing and allow the law enforcement agencies to do their work. We are confident that the police will leave no stone unturned in arresting the suspects who pulled the trigger, even those who may have plotted this tragic incident,” said Kaunda.

Majola played a pivotal role in stabilising Estcourt after the area experienced an increase in violent political conflict before the 2016 Local Government Elections. The conflict claimed the lives of several leaders in the community. Kaunda assured the community of Estcourt that government would monitor the situation to ensure that this incident does not reignite instability. “We are going to monitor political developments through the multi-party political intervention committee that continues to play a critical role in promoting political tolerance in the province,” said Kaunda.

IFP  Councillor Abbas Warasally told The Ladysmith Herald that he and other party members remained in a state of shock and disbelief. He said that Majola and two other people were driving down Hospital Hill when they were attacked. “May his soul rest in peace. It’s a sad day for the community of Estcourt, as well as the IFP family. We leave the investigation in  the capable hands of the law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators to book as soon as possible, we visited the family to pay our respects,” said Warasally.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), MEC Sipho Hlomuka expressed shock at Majola’s senseless murder. “It is unacceptable that yet another life of a public representative has been snuffed out through the barrel of a gun. As the sphere of local government in the province, we are in shock as forces are hell-bent on plunging this critical sphere into chaos by continuing their assault on this democratic institution,” said Hlomuka.
He passed his condolences to Majola’s family as well as the community of Inkosi Langalibalele. “The community should form the first line of defence for councillors. The killing of a councillor is tantamount to an effort to subvert democracy because councillors are servants of the people, elected directly by the people.” Hlomuka has called on law enforcement agencies to leave ‘no stone unturned’ in their search for the perpetrators of this cowardly act. He has urged the community to come forward with any information that could assist in the arrest and persecution of those responsible.”