Factional battles within the ANC-led Raymond Mhlaba Municipal council are what led to the brutal killing of council speaker Thozama Njobe.
Eastern Cape local government MEC Fikile Xasa dropped the bombshell at the funeral of the 46-year-old mother of three whom he described as the fighter of corruption.
Speaking in a packed marquee, Xasa slammed the divided 38-member council. “Factional battles must stop because they are killing the ANC. We will condemn corruption and to the person or people here today who are behind the death of this comrade, you can’t silence us with bullets.”
Xasa – an NEC member of the ANC – warned corrupt leaders during his speech at the funeral. “Come December elective conference, we will untangle this party of O R Tambo from corrupt leaders, we will do it for Thozama Njobe and all millions of poor people.”
“We can’t steal from the poor and expect people to be quiet. You must know that a dead person is more powerful than when they were alive … the death of Thozama will haunt you forever.”
The outspoken critic of president Jacob Zuma also took a swipe at the ANC president during his speech. “When I called for the national president to step down, I was accused of dividing the party. We are not dividing the party but we are fixing it.
“Arrogant leaders are not acceptable and we must always be true servants of the people. How can you steal from poor people?”
Njobe was buried today at Fort Beaufort cemetery following a day of mourning, tears and tributes at Zwelitsha stadium. She was killed a fortnight ago by a lone gunman who, according to eyewitness Mandla Makeleni, fired a hail of bullets at her at close-range.
Makeleni, who is also the head of the finance portfolio, was with Njobe during the attack. Njobe was appointed as council speaker of the newly formed Raymond Mhlaba municipality on August 18 2016 following the August 3 amalgamation of Nkonkobe and Nxuba municipalities.
Speakers at the funeral called upon ANC members to fight factionalism which they said was caused by corruption.
Amongst ANC heavyweights who attended the funeral were Matthews Phosa and provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane.