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Shock and sadness after former ‘poo fighter’ Loyiso Nkohla gunned down in Philippi

Shock and sadness after former ‘poo fighter’ Loyiso Nkohla gunned down in Philippi
Loyiso Nkohla was gunned down in Philippi, where he was holding a meeting with community leaders. (Photo: Xabiso Mkhabela)

The gunmen fled after a shooting inside the Philippi mobile police station in Cape Town on Monday morning. Loyiso Nkohla, a community activist who became known as the ‘poo thrower’ for his protest tactic, was killed and three others injured.

Former ANC and Ses’khona People’s Movement leader Loyiso Nkohla has been gunned down in Cape Town and three others wounded.

The three, including a former ANC councillor, were taken to hospital. 

The brazen shooting happened inside the Philippi mobile police station yard but Daily Maverick could not establish whether the station was still operating. Major-General Manci, who was on the scene, said the station was not operating but did not say when it ceased operations. 

According to police spokesperson Joseph Swartbooi, the Nyanga police responded to a complaint on Monday morning and upon arrival at Philippi Railway Station found the body of a 40-year-old man with fatal gunshot wounds.

“The victim was declared deceased on the scene by the medical personnel. Reports suggested that two females and one male who also sustained injuries were transported to a nearby hospital for medical treatment with private transport. The unknown suspects fled the scene and are yet to be arrested.”

Police in Philippi where Loyiso Nkohla was gunned down. (Photo: Xabiso Mkhabela)

The motive for the attack is yet to be determined and Nyanga police are investigating cases of murder and attempted murder.

As the news of the well-travelled politician and social activist’s death spread, residents and other politicians started to gather around the railway station. 

Witnesses said Nkohla was attending a meeting at the railway station and armed men opened fire as they were finishing the opening prayer. It is suspected that the gunmen were waiting inside the meeting venue. 

The meeting was about facilitating a way forward for the shack dwellers who have occupied the railway line, so that  the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) can restore train services in and around Philippi. 

More than 25 rounds were allegedly fired. 

Loyiso Nkohla in 2016. (Photo: Gallo Images / Nasief Manie)

At the time of his death Nkohla was involved in moving the people who have occupied the railway as the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) looks to restore train services in and around Philippi. 


Nkohla came into the national spotlight in 2013 when he and former ANC councillor Andile Lili led a group of people who dumped faeces on the steps of the Western Cape legislature to protest against Khayelitsha residents’ inadequate sanitation. The “poo protests” resulted in Nkohla facing charges for violation of the Civil Aviation Act, after he and a few others were caught on camera dumping human waste at Cape Town International Airport. 

Nkohla was expelled from the ANC in 2014, TimesLIVE reported. 

He formed the Land Party to contest the national elections in 2019 but quit in May 2019.

Loyiso Nkohla was shot during a meeting with community leaders. (Photo: Xabiso Mkhabela)

Former ANC and Ses’khona People’s Movement leader Loyiso Nkohla shot dead and three others were wounded. (Photo: Xabiso Mkhabela)

He also had brief links to the DA and the Patriotic Alliance. 

Following his failure to be elected to council in the 2021 local government elections, Nkohla announced that he was leaving politics and would focus on community activism. 

‘Very passionate’

Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Mcebisi Skwatsha – a close friend of Nkohla – was one of the first on the scene.

“He was very passionate about the plight of the severely downtrodden, whether it is in Philippi, he really had a passion for the downtrodden. I came here and on arrival I found his dear wife… It is a situation that has to be condemned in the strongest terms possible,” said Skwatsha.

ANC provincial parliament member Mohammed Khalid Sayed, who was with Nkohla in his ANC Youth League Days, also arrived to see his former comrade’s body. 

“It is extremely shocking, very sad. Here was a young leader, full of potential. He may have not been any longer leading in any political formation but he was still making a difference in communities. He was an activist through and through,” he said. 

Sayed said Nkohla welcomed him in the youth league and encouraged him to build branches of the party in so-called coloured and Indian communities in the Western Cape. 

“During his days even being victimised by his own organisation (ANC), he stood with us. He was thoroughly an organic leader. He lost his life not in some fancy place but where our communities reside.” DM


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