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Suspect arrested for ‘killing’ activist Loyiso Nkohla appears in court

Suspect arrested for ‘killing’ activist Loyiso Nkohla appears in court
Hundreds of people attended the memorial service of Loyiso Nkohla Mabandla, 40, at Mew Way Hall in Khayelitsha on 25 April 2023. Nkohla was shot and killed in broad daylight by gunmen who stormed inside the former Browns Farm Police Station. (Photo: Gallo Images/Brenton Geach)

The suspect at the Athlone Magistrate Court was linked to the murder of activist Loyiso Nkohla through cellphone and banking records. The state says he was hired by a security company owner to carry the hit.

Zukisa Tshabile, 38, the man accused of killing former ANC and Ses’khona People’s Movement leader Loyiso Nkohla, appeared at the Athlone Magistrate Court on Monday. 

A crowd gathered outside the court, including leaders of various political organisations. 

Nkohla was gunned down in Philippi, Cape Town, six months ago inside what used to be a mobile police station site. Three other people including a pregnant woman and a former ANC councillor were injured during the shooting. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Shock and sadness after former ‘poo fighter’ Loyiso Nkohla gunned down in Philippi

The suspect, Tshabile, is charged with murder, and faces additional 17 counts of attempted murder. 

“The State alleges that the accused is linked to another suspect who owns a security company, who hired the accused before the court and others to kill Nkohla,” said National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila.

“The accused is linked to the suspect through cell and bank records.” 

The name of the security company and the owner was not revealed in court, and the case was postponed to Monday 6 November for bail information. 

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

Case pending

It was also revealed that the accused has a pending matter in a different court. 

The accused faces a case of being in possession of an unlicensed firearm after he was arrested in Kraaifontein. He will be appearing at Blue Downs Magistrate Court on Friday 3 November for the case. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Loyiso Nkohla — a life of activism cut short by a hail of bullets

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

During Nkohla’s memorial service, Lili said Nkohla had been involved in a big project, helping to restore the train service in and around Philippi, and that there were different groupings that could have targeted him. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Mourners pay tribute to Loyiso Nkhohla the ‘true activist who was a unifier’

The Mabandla Royal Family (Nkohla was the son of the late Chief Justice Thandathu Mabandla) welcomed the arrest of the suspect, and said they are still dealing with the fallout caused by Nkohla’s death. 

“The damage is incorrigible, the entire nation, family including his children, remain inconsolable and traumatised by the senseless killing of such an altruistic activist. His children shall grow up fatherless because a Judas Iscariot put a price on Loyiso’s life.”

Activist Loyiso Nkohla was shot dead and three others were wounded. (Photo: Xabiso Mkhabela)

Swift action

The family thanked the community members who worked with law enforcement, and commended their investigative work, for acting swiftly to apprehend the suspect.

“We call upon law enforcement to deploy all capabilities, [and] gather all relevant and admissible evidence in order to present a formidable case to the National Prosecuting Authority, who we hope and trust… will secure a conviction when the matter goes on trial.”

Former Western Cape provincial parliament speaker and leader of the Alliance of Citizens for Change Masizole Mnqasela, who was also present in court said, “We find solace in knowing that these wild creatures who killed Bhele (Nkohla’s clan name) will finally meet the full might of the law. We need to review our laws when it comes to murder and rape convictions. Life has become too cheap in South Africa. Criminals do not respect law and order.” 

He said that Nkohla’s wife and children, the entire family and loved ones, will now sleep at night. DM


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