Newcastle community in shock, families urge police to effect arrests

SABC News  Crime scene - Newcastle community in shock, families urge police to effect arrests

The recent killing of ANC activist Martin Sithole has left the Newcastle community in northern KwaZulu-Natal in shock.

Sithole and his friend, Buthanani Shange, were ambushed by unknown men, who shot and killed them at the weekend.

The families of the victims have called on police to work around the clock to effect arrests.

Sithole’s relative Fikile Ndima says they will only find closure after police have arrested those responsible for the crime.

“We are still in shock and disbelief that Martin is no more. He loved his family and his community at large. He left his young children; it is so sad. We urge police to arrest those responsible so we can also know the motive for his killing.”

No arrests have yet been made. It’s since emerged that Sithole was a witness in the murder trial of Newcastle Mayor Ntuthuko Mahlaba.

Mahlaba was arrested in March this year in connection with the 2016 killing of former Emalahleni regional ANC youth league leader, Wandile Ngubeni.

“Sithole was vocal in the area and would often call other leaders into order,” says Mqapheli Ngcobo who was a friend.

The ANC wants swift action from police. “They hope that the killers are caught sooner. It would be a shame if politicians are involved in the killing of Sithole,” says Chris Mhlophe who is from the ANC Emalahleni region.

Witnesses say the suspects opened fire from inside a grey car before driving off. Sithole’s friends describe him as a dedicated African National Congress (ANC) member and a voice of reason.

Sithole is survived by his wife and four children.

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