News / South Africa

Yaseen Gaffar
4 minute read
2 Aug 2018
10:13 am

Knysna councillors fear for their lives after murder of Victor Molosi

Yaseen Gaffar

Speculation is rife that councillor's murder was a political hit, which has made fellow Knysna councillors uneasy and scared.

Image: Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP

Two high-ranking Knysna councillors have been driven from their homes, making use of special security arrangements in the form of bodyguards, and have been granted assurance from police that they will be treated as high-risk candidates in the wake of last week’s murder of ANC ward 8 councillor Victor Molosi, Knysna Plett Herald reports.

The Knysna council is still shaken by the incident amid increasing speculation that the murder was a political hit.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Western Cape ANC ward councillor shot and killed outside home

“No breakthrough has been made yet. Detectives are still following leads,” said provincial police spokesperson Captain Malcolm Pojie this week, adding the police hotline (079 894 1605) where members of the public can share information, is still operational.

“We’re expecting more calls to come in,” he said, without divulging more details on the investigation. He added the police did not have the capacity to ensure 24/7 security for councillors and that any security arrangements have been dealt with by the municipality as the onus is on them in such a circumstance.

Mayor Mark Willemse confirmed that additional security has been arranged for those who need it the most.

“We’ve conducted a security assessment with the SAPS and our own law enforcement, and we’ve identified certain councillors as well as areas where additional security has been put in place,” he said.

Willemse stopped short of going into specifics, saying to divulge such details would breach security protocol.

He said the safety of councillors and their families was an ongoing priority.

“Councillors at the moment are almost in a state of paralysis. Where they would usually be out and about within their constituencies, some are now more careful and cautious. It’s really put a damper on how things operate here in Knysna, and it is indeed a very sad time for our town,” he said.

“We have given this week for councillors to mourn our fellow councillor, Victor Molosi. Some councillors have in the meantime continued their work, and we expect everyone to be back at work by Monday next week so that the business of council can continue.”

ANC councillor Mertle Gombo said everyone who knew Victor Molosi felt uncomfortable.

“It’s not just councillors who are fearing for their lives – some of his close friends and family members, and people who worked with him, all feel threatened,” she added.

When asked about her security arrangements, she too declined to disclose specific details, but said the business of council must continue.

“We are here to serve the people, and we can’t be stuck with something that we don’t know what the end result is. We still don’t know what the motive is but we have to be strong and we have to continue with the business of council,” she said.

“When we chose to become councillors, we put our community first – we put our community before our families. We’ve lost a great individual, and we will all mourn him in different ways, but work cannot come to a standstill.”

According to a police report, Molosi had apparently been on his way from a school governing body meeting at Concordia High School at about 10pm on the night of Monday, July 23, when a gunman approached him, shot him several times and fled the scene. Molosi was hit in the head. A school principal rushed him to hospital, but he succumbed to his injuries.

The police confirmed that the incident was not a robbery and they were investigating another motive. “The victim still had all his personal possessions on his person. Nothing was stolen,” said Pojie.

Political opponents are convinced the murder was politically motivated. “This was a political hit, I have no doubt,” said DA councillor Peter Myers, when asked to comment about the incident last week.

The Knysna SAPS confirmed on the night of Molosi’s murder, police also responded to a shooting incident at Pezula Private Estate. “The Knysna police attended to a complaint of possible gunshots in the vicinity of Pezula on Monday, July 23, 2018. No traces were found, and no case was opened …” said spokesperson Sergeant Chris Spies.

The incident reportedly occurred at 10.30pm – about 30 minutes after Molosi was gunned down in Concordia, on the opposite side of town.

According to an anonymous homeowner in Pezula, he found it strange that so many police officers responded to the scene. “There were four to five police cars, and about eight police officers,” he said. “And no one actually heard any gunshots. Neighbours also deny hearing gunshots, so we found it strange.”

The resident also alluded to the possibility that the police were diverted from the crime scene in Concordia. “It is rather peculiar that so many officers responded to the scene at Pezula when in actual fact they should have been on the scene in Concordia.”

A group of Knysna women launched a fundraising initiative for Victor’s widow Nomonde and his children, who were left without a husband, breadwinner and loving father overnight.

The initiative coincides with women’s month, and will run for the entire month of August. The objective is to contribute to the education costs of the four minor children and to assist the family in their time of need.

Donations can be deposited into: Capitec Bank; account name: Molosi Fund; branch: 470010; savings acc nr. 1591811692.

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