Murdered councillor a ‘hero’
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.