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Northern KZN councillor 'shot more than 20 times' in apparent hit

25 May 2020 - 17:25 By Orrin Singh
Philip Mkhwanazi, photographed by the Sunday Times in April 2017, was gunned down in an apparent hit in northern KZN on Monday.
Philip Mkhwanazi, photographed by the Sunday Times in April 2017, was gunned down in an apparent hit in northern KZN on Monday.
Image: Thuli Dlamini

An ANC councillor and induna (headman) of a northern KwaZulu-Natal village was gunned down in a suspected hit on Monday morning.

Philip Mkhwanazi, the induna of Khula village in the Dukuduku reserve, 5km outside St Lucia in northern KwaZulu-Natal, died in a hail of bullets about 11am fired by two unknown men who had spoken to him moments before they opened fire.

Police spokesperson Col Thembeka Mbele said Mkhwanazi had been near his home, standing under a tree, while two men repaired his vehicle nearby.

“He was in his village with two people who were repairing his car. Two unknown men approached him on foot and said they wanted proof of residence, because they wanted to open an account at the bank.”

Mbele said it was alleged that Mkhwanazi told the men to come back at noon because the person dealing with accounts was not in the office.

“They asked him if he [Mkhwanazi] would be there at 12 and the victim confirmed that he would. The men then pretended as if they were leaving but then suddenly opened fire on the victim.”

Mbele said the two men repairing Mkhwanazi's car ran for cover.

“The suspects made off with two of the victim's cellphones. A case of murder is being investigated,” he said.

A source with knowledge of the incident said the men shot Mkhwanazi with 9mm pistols.

“He was shot all over his body more than 20 times,” said the source.

In 2017 the Sunday Times reported how Mkhwanazi had gone from earning a measly R35 a fortnight to pocketing R800,000 a year through operating two commercial boats in the St Lucia estuary, as well as offering accommodation and a Zulu experience to local and international tourists at his Veyane Cultural Village — listed as a popular destination on KZN Tourism's official website.

“We appeal to anyone with information on crime to contact us on our Crime Stop number 08600 10111 or via the SAPS MySAPS app. Callers may remain anonymous and all information will be treated with confidence,” added Mbele.

Mkhwanazi's murder comes just two weeks after IFP councillor and Dukuduku community leader Thengezakhe Maphanga was shot 28 times by unknown gunmen at his homestead in the Nyamazane area in the Dukuduku reserve.

KZN Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka condemned the murder.

"We are saddened by the loss of yet another foot soldier in the battle to bring adequate services closer to our communities,” said Hlomuka. “The murder of a public representative is tantamount subversion of democracy because councillors are servants of the people elected directly by the people."