Saturday, March 26, 2011
Bodyguard killed in bloody fight
Bodyguard killed in bloody fight
Mar 26, 2011 11:55 PM | By MONICA LAGANPARSAD
Two bodyguards of a KwaZulu-Natal mayor turned on each other in a vicious fight that left one them lying dead in a pool of blood.
Police investigating the case, which has puzzled the Zululand district municipality, said the fight happened on Thursday last week at a luxury resort in Paulpietersburg, northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Zululand district mayor Blessed Gwala said this week he was still shocked that the two men assigned to protect him had turned on each.
The former provincial public works MEC and senior member of the Inkatha Freedom Party said he was "traumatised".
The two bodyguards, Nkosinathi Nkwanyana and Londimpilo Thusi, who had protected Gwala since May last year, were with him on his local government election campaign drive in the north of the province.
After an IFP rally near Vryheid last week, the entourage booked into the Natal Spa Resort and Conference Centre.
At about 7pm, the two bodyguards walked out of the restaurant to talk.
Minutes later, Thusi, 32, staggered back into the restaurant, covered in blood, and allegedly told the rest of the party that Nkwanyana, 35, was "unconscious".
Witnesses in the entourage told the Sunday Times that Nkwanyana said: "Go fetch your friend. He's lying there unconscious."
The stunned group ran outside and found the body drenched in blood.
"His tie was wrapped around his neck and tied to a wire fence," said a witness.
Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said Thusi had been arrested at the scene.
Thusi appeared briefly in the Vryheid Magistrate's Court on Wednesday where he was remanded in custody until Tuesday for a formal bail hearing.
Both bodyguards were employed by a Durban-based security company, Mashmane Security Services, which is contracted to the Zululand district municipality.
Nkwanyana's wife, Hlengiwe, said she could still not believe that her husband had been murdered by his own colleague.
"There's more to this story. I cannot believe that a fight between two guys at a dining table led to this," she said.
The 36-year-old widow said that she was aware that her husband had been involved in arguments with his colleagues.
"He told me that these were minor arguments one normally has with colleagues," she said.
Hlengiwe, who went to fetch her husband's body from Vryheid, said the postmortem results showed the cause of death was strangulation.
The couple had been married for two years and had two children.
Nkwanyana joined the private security sector after he completed his training in 2006.
Mashmane Security Services manager Wellington Maphumulo said he was not aware that the men had unsolved issues.
Gwala said he would have intervened and solved any issues between his bodyguards had he known they were in a dispute.
''They were both laughing when I went to bed, and 40 minutes later one was dead," he said.
Gwala, a former KwaZulu-Natal MEC, was investigated by the provincial government in 2006 after it emerged that he and his entourage had spent 249 nights in upmarket Durban hotels in 2005.
They spent an estimated R1.5-million in taxpayers' money. The hotels included the Royal, Elangeni and the Edward.
At the time, he declined to respond to questions about his lavish spending. He referred reporters to a statement by his departmental head, Dr Fikisiwe Madlopha, who defended Gwala's actions as "required for official duties".
General Budget Debate
MB Gwala MPP
KwaZulu Natal Provincial Parliament: 16 April 2007
It is perfectly natural that on the day of the budget debate everyone around the table wants more of everything. I, for one, only ask this government for more common sense and more tolerance.
Probably the most laudable aspect of the national 2007/2008 budget is its prospect of a budget surplus. Given the spending patterns by this provincial government, should we in the IFP as the Official Opposition, favour the surplus because it represents savings in an economy otherwise starved of saving, or should we argue that the money would be better spent by the individuals and companies who supplied it to the government in taxes in the first place?
The obstinacy surrounding the surplus debate reveals this government's belief, largely unshaken by facts to the contrary, that it is qualified to spend money better than the taxpayer. This is nonsense. The government in general and the South African government in particular is the worst possible spender of the public resources. Only consider the fruitless and wasteful expenditure ubiquitous across the government departments in this province and beyond, the departmental budgets that go unspent amid glaring delivery backlogs and the astounding administrative cost of this government.
Unless the government can tangibly improve its spending patterns, it should contemplate giving tax relief to individuals and corporates which will help them build their own savings and thus tackle the enormous level of household debt which is currently running at more than 70 percent of GDP. Even more worrying is the underlying notion that there are only about 330,000 companies in South Africa that employ about 5 million people on a pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) basis while the state sustains about 12 million people on social benefits.
In practice, this means that every firm is, figuratively, responsible for raising social benefits for at least 36 people. If we are to widen our social network, as the government - with thumbs up from the Official Opposition - intends doing, we have to transform this precarious ratio and boost the number of businesses providing employment and funnelling PAYE taxes to the South African Revenue Service each month by granting more tax breaks. This is best international practice this government so often presumes to follow!
In the light of all this, it is tragic that this government carries on treating the taxpayer with so much disdain. Time and again the IFP has bemoaned in this House the vast sums wasted on government-sponsored izimbizo and related initiatives which aspire to promote participatory democracy but do little more than promote the ruling party and boost its prospects of being re-elected in 2009 - at taxpayer's expense. These initiatives, often duplicated by parliament and multiple government departments, continue to drain the state resources, that are desperately needed elsewhere, without any concurrent process of monitoring and evaluating their efficiency and effectiveness.
Yes, let me say it openly, Honourable Speaker, it is the ruling party's political greed that determines the management of state funds in this province rather than the needs and aspirations of the people of KwaZulu Natal. The truth is that the ANC has never really accepted the multi-party character of the political scene in KwaZulu Natal, perhaps because it has never been seriously challenged outside this province. There would be nothing wrong with trashing the Official Opposition - this, in fact, is the very stuff of politics - if the state resources were not being used, consistently and relentlessly, to improve the image and standing of the ruling party on the ground.
The ANC has been waging a war against its opponents even on the most deplorable, that is personal level. The ruling party has invested a huge amount of political capital into undermining the mandate of the Leader in this House by trying to isolate Dr Lionel Mtshali from his party. To no avail, I must say. To me, all this frenetic energy directed against the Official Opposition means that the IFP must be doing something right in exposing the mismanagement and fraud in this government, as we have recently done in the disastrous Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs.
One last example of how this government uses the state resources as a stick against its - often imagined - opponents. As this House will recall, the ANC piloted legislation which sought to restructure the institution of traditional leadership in KwaZulu Natal, presumably for more democratic ends. It may be unknown to the ruling party but our traditional institutions have always possessed many of the elements of modern political systems such as the concepts of democracy, accountability and freedom of expression. A traditional leader’s authority is valid only insofar as he is the mouthpiece of the interests of people within his area of jurisdiction.
It has always been my party's view that popular influence of amakhosi would never be diminished. Traditional institutions have legitimacy and authority that post-colonial and post- apartheid governments have yet to attain. They have remained virtually indispensable to the fabric of our culture. The very survival and continuing resilience of the institution of traditional leadership, despite centuries of colonial and undemocratic rule and repeated attempts to undermine the traditional governance systems, bears testimony to the extraordinary tenacity and vitality of our traditions.
Of course, the most recent wholesale attack by the government of the day against the institution is the fact that the application of the KwaZulu-Natal Traditional Leadership and Governance Act has not been budgeted for. Virtually all expenditure ensuing from this legislation, such as the establishment of district Houses, will inevitably be irregular and unauthorised. This situation is entirely unique to KwaZulu Natal. Having to operate on a shoe-string budget is bound to diminish rather than enhance the status of our traditional leadership and I challenge this government to admit it and do something about it.
I thank you.
Contact: Blessed Gwala, 078 690 5777