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Umlazi protesters demand by-election despite withdrawal...

South Africa

GROUNDUP

Umlazi protesters demand by-election despite withdrawal of murder charges against councillor

Umlazi residents in Durban blocked roads, demanding a by-election in their ward. (Photo: Musa Binda)

Residents block township road in protest.

First published by GroundUp.

About 100 residents of ward 80, Umlazi, in the south of Durban, blocked Sibusiso Mdakane Road with burning tyres on Tuesday, demanding a by-election in their ward.

The residents said they did not want to be represented by councillor Mthokozisi Nojiyeza, who had previously faced murder charges. The charges have since been withdrawn for lack of evidence.

Nojiyeza has been a councillor for the ward since the local government elections in 2016. He was arrested with two relatives in December 2018.

They were accused of plotting the murder of the eThekwini branch’s secretary, Sbusiso Maphumulo, who was shot dead outside his home in V Section, Umlazi, after attending an ANC meeting in October 2018.

They were released on Friday after spending about five months in jail. The Umlazi Magistrate’s Court found there was insufficient evidence linking them to the case.

One of the leaders of the protest, who asked not to be named, said the residents did not want to be led by someone who had previously faced a serious charge.

We are scared of being led by a leader who has been accused of plotting the murder of another leader. We understand that the court set him free because there was not sufficient evidence directly linking him to the case. But we are also mindful that the court never said he was innocent so we are demanding a by-election where a clean person will be elected,” said the protest leader.

The leader added that they were planning to ensure that Nojiyeza’s office stayed closed until their demand was met.

Thami Mdluli, a representative from the office of eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede, said he would make sure the demand reached the right people within the ANC.

Attempts by GroundUp to reach Nojiyeza for comment were unsuccessful. DM

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