How DA Chief Whip was shot 10 times – after cops ignored threats against him…

Ten bullets were pumped into the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) Chief Whip in the uMngeni municipality – after police did not act on evidence of threats against him over the removal of illegal electricity connections. After he was shot, the phone at the police station rang unanswered. And it took police hours to arrive at the house of the slain man who was assassinated in front of his wife and children. This has emerged from a BizNews interview with Francois Rodgers, the provincial leader of the DA. Rodgers believes the killing was politically motivated as there were “certain threats against him relating to the disconnection of illegal electricity connections”. He says the “lack of consequence” for this type of killing makes it very easy for these hitmen to be able to operate in the political and traditional leadership space. Unless there were “swift” consequences, it becomes a “means to an end for people to make money and eliminate those trying to do their job”. While the DA will now beef up security around certain party officials, it is “not going to go into a hole and avoid this campaign going into 2024”. Chris Steyn

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Timestamps

  • 00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:32 – Update on the assassination
  • 01:31 – Did the hit men say anything?
  • 01:52 – What are the indications of this being a political killing?
  • 02:43 – Police response
  • 03:20 – What was reported while he was receiving threats?
  • 03:48 – No action was taken?
  • 05:32 – How will Chris Papas be kept safe?
  • 07:02 – Why is KZN such a hot spot for hit men?
  • 08:19 – Conclusion

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Highlights from the interview

___STEADY_PAYWALL___

Ten bullets were pumped into the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) Chief Whip in the uMngeni municipality – after police did not act on evidence of threats against him over the removal of illegal electricity connections.

After he was shot, the phone at the police station rang unanswered. And it took police hours to arrive at the house of the slain man who was assassinated in front of his wife and children.

This has emerged from a BizNews interview with Francois Rodgers, the provincial leader of the DA.

Describing how he was killed, Rodgers says: “… two armed gunmen arrived at Nhlalayenza Ndlovu, Councillor Ndlovo’s house. They fired two shots through the door and then broke the door down. They then pursued Nhlalayenza into his bedroom when an additional eight shots were fired, which obviously… killed him, so ten shots and all were fired. The shots were fired at point-blank range. This was in front of his five-year-old daughter, his wife, Pretty, and their little six-month-old-baby and the nanny.”

Rodgers believes the killing was politically motivated. “A few days ago, Nhlalayenza had raised with the mayor that there were certain threats against him relating to the disconnection of illegal electricity connections in an area just south of Mpophomeni where some large mansions on Ingonyama Trust land. Some houses have installed their own substations and are illegally connected to the municipality. And a disconnection process was underway. This was reported to the Mpophomeni SAPS police station, but no action was taken. And we now sit with the death of a father and a husband and a councillor.

“Nobody wakes up in the morning and decides they’re going to kill a public figure. It’s a planned, orchestrated, detailed event, and that information is divulged to the community. It’s not an isolated incident. And what’s more, we had evidence which we gave to SAPS, yet they didn’t act on it.”

Commenting on the police response following the killing, he says: “…firstly, it took them hours to arrive on the scene. Nobody was answering the telephone at the Mpophomeni Police Station. The only positivity out of this is that the special task team dealing with political killings arrived on the scene yesterday, and one would hope that they would be able to expedite the arrest of these perpetrators.”

Rodgers says the “lack of consequence” for this type of killing makes it very easy for these hitmen to be able to operate in the political space and the traditional leadership space. “So, you know, it’s a consequence, and it’s swift consequence. Otherwise, it just becomes a means to an end for people to make money and eliminate those trying to do their job.”

As for the future security of the Mayor of that municipality, Christopher Pappas – who has now suspended his Premiership campaign to mourn – Rodgers says: “Well, obviously, we have to re-look at the security we have around certain of our individuals, and we need to beef up that security…the sad reality is that security doesn’t come at no cost. It comes at a financial cost. And it just means that the more we pay for VIP protection and security, the less money there is for service delivery.

“So…we find ourselves in a really sad space. We find ourselves probably six to seven months away from an election. One would hope that the political violence that we’ve experienced in the past and what we as a party experienced two days ago is not going to start escalating. 

“But having said that, we’re not going to go into a hole and avoid this campaign going into 2024. We’ll continue to do our job. I think it’s important. I think good will triumph over evil. And, you know, democracy must prevail.”

Transcript from the interview

Chris Steyn (00:00.61)

Back to the killing fields of KwaZulu-Natal, where political ambitions are often advanced with bullets. We speak to Francois Rodgers, the provincial leader of the Democratic Alliance. Can you please give us an update on the assassination of a Chief Whip in the only municipality in the province that is under DA control?

FRANCOIS RODGERS (00:29.084)

Yes, I can. This happened at 7.30; I think it was Tuesday evening if I remember correctly. And two armed gunmen arrived at Nhlalayenza Ndlovu, Councillor Ndlovo’s house. They fired two shots through the door and then broke the door down. They then pursued Nhlalayenza into his bedroom when an additional eight shots were fired, which obviously…killed him, so ten shots and all were fired. The shots were fired at point-blank range. This was in front of his five-year-old daughter, his wife, Pretty, and their little six-month-old baby and the nanny. The perpetrators then fled the scene, and nothing was removed; there was no theft involved, and luckily, there was no other further injury to those in the home.

Chris Steyn (01:24.674)

Did the Hitmen say anything that the family reported back to you?

FRANCOIS RODGERS (01:29.296)

At this stage, I don’t have that information. I’m going to Howick today to pay my condolences to the family and obtain some more information, but I’m unaware there was any communication.

Chris Steyn (01:45.266)

What are the indications that this was a political killing, not a personal matter?

FRANCOIS RODGERS (01:52.084)

We believe it was politically motivated. A few days ago, Nhlalayenza had raised with the Mayor that there were certain threats against him relating to the disconnection of illegal electricity connections in an area just south of Mpophomeni where there are some large mansions on Ingonyama Trust land. Some houses have installed their own substations and are illegally connected to the municipality. And a disconnection process was underway. This was reported to the Mpophomeni SAPS police station, but no action was taken. And we now sit with the death of a father and a husband and a councillor.

Chris Steyn (02:41.73)

What has the police response been to his killing?

FRANCOIS RODGERS (02:45.916)

Well, as I say, the only positive that I can take out of the police’s response…firstly, it took them hours to arrive on the scene. Nobody was answering the telephone at the Mpophomeni police station…The only positivity out of this is that the special task team dealing with political killings arrived on the scene yesterday, and one would hope that they would be able to expedite the arrest of these perpetrators.

Chris Steyn (03:19.271)

What all were reported to the police when he received threats?

FRANCOIS RODGERS (03:24.976)

Some senior leaders in the traditional area seemed to have been implicated. I certainly don’t want to divulge any names at this stage. I don’t think it would be wise to do so. So, the information about the threats against Nhlalayenza and those people involved had been reported to the SAPS.

Chris Steyn (03:53.134)

no action was taken.

FRANCOIS RODGERS (03:54.908)

Well, you see, this is one of the biggest problems we have. Suppose you look back at the Moerane Commission, which was a commission that was instituted some eight years ago about political killings in the province. In that case, none of those recommendations have even been addressed. And one of the serious resolutions in the Moerane Commission is about intelligence and SAPS intelligence.

Nobody wakes up in the morning and decides they’re going to kill a public figure. It’s a planned, orchestrated, detailed event, and that information is divulged to the community. It’s not an isolated incident. And what’s more, we had evidence that we gave to SAPS, and yet they didn’t act on it. So that’s part of the problem. And this is why we believe, and I’ve been calling for some time now, for political leaders in the province of KwaZulu-Natal to sit around a table, to have a dialogue with an independent chairperson, and look at the recommendations contained in the Moerane Commission and start implementing them. It’s our responsibility. We’re leaders. But sad to say that of all the political parties I approached in the province, only one responded. The rest haven’t even bothered to respond, which I’m afraid is a sad indictment on some political leaders and parties in our province.

Chris Steyn (05:21.45)

When I last spoke to the mayor of that municipality, Christopher Pappas, he confirmed that he, too, had received threats. How are you going to keep him safe? I know he’s taking a break from his premiership campaign to mourn, but when he returns, he’ll surely be in grave danger, too.

FRANCOIS RODGERS (05:40.436)

Well, we have to re-look at the security we have around certain of our individuals, and we need to beef up that security. The sad reality is that security doesn’t come at no cost. It comes at a financial cost. And it just means that the more we pay for VIP protection and security, the less money there is for service delivery.

So, you know, we find ourselves in a really sad space. We find ourselves probably six to seven months away from an election. One would hope that the political violence that we’ve experienced in the past and what we as a party experienced two days ago is not going to start escalating. But yes, we would have to review security around certain of our public representatives. But having said that, we won’t go into a hole and avoid this campaign going into 2024. We’ll continue to do our job. I think it’s important. I think good will triumph over evil. And, you know, democracy must prevail. As the DA, we will be the leaders and frontrunners in that process.

Chris Steyn (06:59.006)

Why do you think KZN is the home of hitmen? The place where political scores are settled, you know, by the gun.

FRANCOIS RODGERS (07:11.64)

Well, you know, I think the province has a dreadful history and a dreadful past about political violence going back some years. Yesterday, I engaged with His Majesty the King. I paid a courtesy visit, and one of the issues we discussed was, in fact, political violence, not just on public representatives but the traditional leadership in our province. So, I think it’s a historical lack of tolerance amongst political leaders and senior structures. Then again, you know, the Moerane Commission talks about coming up with resolutions, and the late King made it very clear that we should not in any way tolerate political violence and killings. And I think, you know, the lack of consequence when it comes to this type of killing, you know, makes it very easy for these hitmen to be able to operate in the political space and the traditional leadership space. So, you know, it’s a consequence, and it’s a swift consequence. Otherwise, it just becomes a means to an end for people to make money and eliminate those trying to do their jobs.

Chris Steyn (08:29.894)

Thank you very much. That was Francois Rodgers, the provincial leader of the Democratic Alliance, speaking to BizNews.

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