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Three murdered candidates win polls

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It was a bitter-sweet, emotional victory for the families of three ANC candidates who were gunned down in KwaZulu-Natal in the run-up to this week’s municipal elections.

The Umuziwabantu Municipality’s Ward 1 candidate Bongani Skhosana, Newcastle’s Thembi Mbongo (Ward 6) and Ladysmith’s Khanyisile Ngobese-Sibisi (Ward 20) all emerged victorious in the wards they had contested.

All three candidates were shot dead in their homes barely a month before the elections.

Skhosana’s brother, Khethukuthula, expressed delight on Thursday, saying his family was excited but “emotional”.

“ANC branch secretary Sifiso Maphumulo called me at 5am today delivering the good news. We were all delighted. All the hard work has paid off. It’s just a pity that Bongani is no longer with us. But at least his death was not in vain.”

He said the family was “at peace and accepted” Bongani’s death but pleaded with police to arrest the murderers.

Maphumulo said the branch was planning a ceremony to honour Bongani at his Sontambe home on Saturday.

Ntokozo Mhlungu, Emalahleni (Newcastle) ANC regional secretary, said the party was not surprised by Mbongo’s victory.

“We made an entire dedication for her – in her respect. In her honour, we made sure people went out to vote and cleared any confusion they may have had.”

The Electoral Commission would now follow processes and declare vacancies in the wards won by the three. By-elections would then be held for replacements.

Mbongo’s replacement, Mhlungu said, had not yet been identified as this would be inconsiderate and “inhumane” of the party so soon after the election.

“The entire focus was for us to secure the victory of that ward and other wards.”

Party members became emotional when news broke that Mbongo had won.

“There were mixed emotions. Comrades were so happy, some were even crying. It was so hurtful that she was not with us to celebrate the victory,” he said.

There were 14 politically motivated murders in KwaZulu-Natal in the run-up to this week’s local government elections.

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