Mur­dered coun­cil­lor a ‘hero’

CityPress - - News - LUBA­BALO NGCUKANA luba­balo.ngcukana@city­press.co.za

When Buy­isile Mkavu op­posed a hous­ing devel­op­ment in KwaLanga, Uiten­hage, last year be­cause he thought there were prob­lems with a ten­der, he up­set a lot of peo­ple. It wasn’t the first time the 41-year-old had spo­ken up when he be­lieved a deal was cor­rupt or prob­lem­atic, and it wouldn’t be the last.

But Mkavu won’t be speak­ing up again: the mem­ber of the may­oral com­mit­tee for hu­man set­tle­ments in the Nel­son Man­dela Bay Metro was shot dead last Satur­day.

At his funeral in Uiten­hage yes­ter­day, Mkavu was hailed as a hero who wasn’t afraid to speak out against cor­rup­tion, no mat­ter who he of­fended.

No­body has yet been ar­rested in con­nec­tion with his mur­der on a street in KwaNobuhle. He had been pay­ing his re­spects to the fam­ily of for­mer Uiten­hage ANC coun­cil­lor Lucky Vu­ma­zonke, who died a week ear­lier. Mkavu was shot through the win­dow of his Range Rover.

Mkavu’s older brother, Xo­lile Msizi (53), told City Press on Fri­day that peo­ple who could no longer “get their way” af­ter his ap­point­ment late last year could not take it any more and killed him.

“My brother up­set a lot of peo­ple when he op­posed a hous­ing devel­op­ment in KwaLanga,” he said. “From then, he be­came very un­pop­u­lar and was treated like an out­cast.”

Msizi ex­plained that ear­lier this year, soon af­ter Mkavu op­posed the devel­op­ment, his house was torched and he was forced to aban­don it.

“They first at­tacked him and stoned his car. Then they torched his house. Our mother’s house was also torched. Now they fi­nally got to him.”

No­body has been ar­rested in con­nec­tion with the ar­son at­tacks.

Msizi de­scribed his younger brother as some­one who was stead­fast in his fight against cor­rup­tion and as some­one who al­ways did things by the book.

“He was very res­o­lute, fear­less and a lov­ing fam­ily man. He was colour­ful in the way he dressed and was so full of life,” Msizi said.

Among those who at­tended the funeral at Uiten­hage’s Al­lan­ridge Civic Cen­tre yes­ter­day were Eastern Cape hu­man set­tle­ments MEC He­len SaulsAu­gust and her fi­nance coun­ter­part Sakhumzi Somyo, who de­liv­ered a key­note speech. Many mourn­ers wore ANC re­galia. Mkavu’s cas­ket was car­ried in one of the metro’s red fire en­gines by fire­fight­ers, and mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cers formed a guard of hon­our out­side the funeral venue. Andile Lungisa, the for­mer deputy pres­i­dent of the ANC Youth League who comes from the Nel­son Man­dela Bay area, said he was shocked by Mkavu’s death. “We are all dis­turbed by what hap­pened. He was an ac­tive and dy­namic com­rade who loved and served his peo­ple with pas­sion.

“When it came to is­sues of ser­vice de­liv­ery and cor­rup­tion, he was very up­front. What has hap­pened is very bad for our re­gion.” The men once served to­gether on the re­gional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee of the ANC Youth League in Nel­son Man­dela Bay. “I think his as­sas­si­na­tion re­lates to cor­rup­tion, es­pe­cially be­cause there are a num­ber of peo­ple who have a vested in­ter­ests in where the unit in [hu­man set­tle­ments] he was lead­ing was head­ing,” said Lungisa.

Koko Ja­cobs, a coun­cil­lor who served with Mkavu in the hu­man set­tle­ments port­fo­lio, de­scribed him as tough when it came to pol­icy and pro­ce­dure. “He would never de­vi­ate from pol­icy and was un­com­pro­mis­ing against cor­rup­tion.

“I don’t know why any­one, ex­cept an evil person, would want to kill such a hard-work­ing young man.”

The ANC has called on Mkavu’s killers to turn them­selves in and have of­fered a R50 000 re­ward to any­one who pro­vides in­for­ma­tion that leads to the ar­rest of those re­spon­si­ble for the mur­der.

In his trib­ute to Mkavu, Somyo de­scribed the coun­cil­lor as a “true hero of the strug­gle”.

Mkavu is sur­vived by his wife Limise and six-yearold son Avuy­ile.

Buy­isile Mkavu

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