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Centre for Civil Society (2006) Hamba Kahle Mazwi 'Komi' Zulu . Centre for Civil Society : -.

Comrade Mazwi Douglas Zulu (46), affectionately known as Komi, of E515 Umlazi Township, was barbarically gunned down by two assassins at around 5:30 in the morning on Wednesday 3 May 2006. He had just left home to board a bus to work in New Germany. He was shot 8 times and died on the scene. The assassins vanished into thin air.

Comrade Komi was a very vocal SACP and worker rights social activist who from very early in life dedicated himself to the struggle for the betterment of the poor. He worked tirelessly in the struggle to end apartheid and continued to fight with the same dedication in the post apartheid era in an endeavour to bring about true and meaningful freedom for the poor.

Comrade Komi worked closely in the underground movement in the anti-apartheid struggle. He worked particularly closely with MK operatives such as Comrade Blessing Mabaso, Comrade V.O. Memela and others who were lost during a shoot out with the apartheid security forces in R-section Umlazi at that height of the war against apartheid in the 80s.

He was also very instrumental in the building and strengthening of the civic organisation in E-section, Umlazi, in the 80s and 90s. The civic made significant inroads with regard to addressing housing problems, stamping out rampant municipal corruption and taking up the day to day challenges that ordinary people encounter in life.

Comrade Komi also worked very closely with his childhood friend and Comrade, FAWU worker rights activist and SACP giant, the late Comrade Freedom Dlamuka. He also worked hard to support Comrade Dlamuka's 1996 local government election campaign. But in the end Bhekisa Xulu ascended to the position of councillor. It is understood that Councillor Xulu's camp marked Comrade Komi as an enemy in 1996 by virtue of his support for Comrade Dlamuka's candidacy. Their strong hatred for Komi was clear.

The strong feelings against Komi in the Xulu camp worsened in the build up to the hotly contested 1 March, 2006 local government elections in Ward 80, Umlazi. This emanated from Comrade Komi's courageously open challenge to the various unjust practices and blatant corruption in Xulu's offices. Comrade Koni's huge popularity with the workers and poor in the ward, and his open support for Zamani Mthethwa's independent candidacy against Xulu, heightened the hostility and lead to open threats from the Xulu camp.

Comrade Komi is the second SACP member in Ward 80 to be gunned down after standing up to Xulu. Comrade Sinethemba Myeni of A-Section, Umlazi was assassinated at 10:00 at night on 12 April 2006 when 5 gunmen forced their way into his home and fired multiple shots at him. He also, like Comrade Komi, died at the scene. Myeni was hated in the Xulu camp because he was a vocal, openly critical and disciplined comrade with the respect of the people. In 2005 they had him expelled from the Mxenge Branch (Ward 80). Comrade Sinethemba and Comrade Komi shared similar political views and worked closely together in the SACP. He was 36 years old when he was murdered and was buried at Umlazi on 22 April 2006. His assassins, like those of Comrade Koni, have not been bought to book.

It is rumoured, and widely believed, that there is a hit list of all those perceived to be holding political views different from the Xulu camp and all those who supported Zamani Mthethwa's independent candidacy. The Xulu camp call these people "reactionaries hell bent on destabilising the ANC and ward 80."

Counsellor Xulu won the 1 March election. Many residents believed that there had been open fraud because Xulu has been seen by various people with piles of ballot papers. On 2 March more than a thousand people protested against what they saw as Xulu's return to office by electoral fraud. The Area Crime Combating Unit was called to break up the protests and a young woman passing by, Monica Nomthandazo Ngcobo who was on the way to catch a bus to work, was shot in the back with live ammunition by the police and bled to death on the road. Police spokesman Bala Naidoo said that she had been shot in the stomach with a rubber bullet because she was throwing stones. This was a complete lie.

A march was arranged by Women of Umlazi working together with Abahlali baseMjondolo to protest against the murders of Monica Nomthandazo and Sinethemba Myeni on 31 March. Xulu followed the march in a car with tinted windows and his henchmen intimidated, physically assaulted and photographed marchers. When people stood up to this the police stepped in and arrested 20 people.

Counsellor Xulu's house has been under 24 hour guard by the SAPS's Area Crime Combating Unit since 2 March 2006. The thorny issue here is that the E-Section community has long appealed for a mobile SAPS station to be set up to decrease the unacceptably high crime rate. But the community has consistently been told that there are not enough resources for an E-Section police station. While ordinary people reel under worsening attack by criminals Xulu and his gunmen are protected by Monica Ngcobo's murderers. Xulu's gunmen continue to harass and intimidate residents, often firing shots into or next to their houses, but then, every night, they retreat to the sanctuary of Xulu's house where they know that they are safe from the public and ordinary honest police officers. People are terrified and feel unsafe. No one knows who is next on the hitmen's list.

In all three murders neither the eThekwini Metro Mayor Obed Mlaba, who resides in Umlazi, or ANC and SACP officials have bothered to lift a finger or to even show up. The situation is explosive. Something must be done.

Comrade Mazwi Zulu's Memorial Service was held at E-Section's Christian Assemblies Church on 11 May 2006. He is to be laid to rest on Sunday 14 May at the Merebank Cemetery after a funeral to be held at E-Section's sportsfield from 10:00 to 13:00.

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