Shack dwellers’ movement, Abahlali Basemjondolo (ABM), are pointing fingers at the ANC after one of its leaders was killed near his home on Tuesday afternoon.
Ayanda Ngila (30) was shot and killed by four gunmen in the Khenana informal settlement in Durban.
“Four men entered the commune from the river side, where the communal garden is, and started shooting at Ayanda while he was working on the irrigation piping,” said ABM in a statement released on Wednesday.
In the statement, ABM accused the ANC of being behind Ngila’s “assassination”.
However, Nhlakanipho Ntombela, ANC KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson, warned the organisation against making unverified allegations. “It’s spurious allegations, if you have evidence of crime committed you open a case with the police, you don’t issue public statements.
“As the ANC we condemn crime … no matter what the reasons were. If indeed such an act has happened we call on police to act decisively and with urgency to find those culprits,” said Ntombela.
Mqapheli Bonono, deputy president of ABM, said Ngila’s death brings the total number of its members who have been killed since its inception in 2005 to 19.
The murderers of only two people were found and convicted.
In 2016, ANC councillors Mduduzi Ngcobo and Velile Lutsheko, were sentenced to life imprisonment for killing ABM member, Thulisile Ndlovu.
In 2018, Cato Manor police officer Phumlani Ndlovu was sentenced to 10 years for killing teenager Nqobile Nzuza during an ABM protest.
“There are forces here in Cato Manor and business people linked to the ANC that want a piece of land that Ngila was protecting because they want to start their businesses there,” said Bonono.
Bonono said while they were shocked by Ngila’s death, they were still committed to the movement.
“Ngila like most of our leaders was young and grounded.
“If our young people continue to be killed like this, then they will live in fear and won’t be able to do the important work of restoring the dignity of people living in informal settlements,” he said.
Last September, The Witness reported that Ngila and two other ABM members spent six months in jail in relation to a murder charge.
The trio were eventually released when the case was dropped due to a lack of evidence.
“We spent a long time in jail and it’s no child’s play there. We might look fine standing here but it’s hard.
“It’s true when they say jail changes you,” said Ngila to The Witness shortly after he was released.
Ngila leaves behind a nine-year-old daughter. He is due to be buried this weekend.