Durban – THE ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has confirmed the passing of its former provincial deputy secretary Mluleki Ndobe who died on Friday evening.
ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said the ANC leadership was set to visit the Ndobe family on Saturday where they would also find out the circumstances around Ndobe’s death.
Ntombela also confirmed that Ndobe, who was serving as deputy speaker of the KZN provincial legislature at the time of his death, had been battling cancer for the past number of months and was undergoing chemotherapy.
“The African National Congress in KwaZulu-Natal is shocked and saddened by the untimely passing of its leader Mluleki Ndobe affectionately known as “The Black Mamba”. He was a PEC/PWC member and a former Deputy Provincial Secretary of the ANC in the province.
“Currently he was entrusted with the responsibility of coordinating the eThekwini Regional Task Team after the disbandment of the Regional Executive Committee, to take the Region to its next Regional Conference which was delayed by the lockdown of the country due to COVID 19 pandemic,” said Ntombela.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson, Captain Thembeka Mbele said police officers from Umbilo station attended the scene of suicide at Ndobe’s home. An inquest has been opened.
“The member alleged that on arrival at the scene he found the deceased wife Mrs Ndobe who alleges that family was all seated in the living room… the deceased went to the main bedroom. When he was sitting on the chair in the main bedroom he asked for water, when the deceased wife was fetching water she heard a gun shot sound from the main bedroom,” Mbele said.
“She then went to investigate and found her husband seated on the chair with one gun shot wound on his left chest (heart). The deceased was identified as Mr Mluleki Ndobe, , 46 years of age. The victim used his private firearm to shoot himself and the firearm was found lying on the floor and it was next to him on the floor,” she said.
Mbele said a 9mm firearm and one spent cartridge was found on the scene and one live ammunition in the magazine.
“No suicide note found and there was no suspicions that the deceased might commit suicide. The deceased was later transported to mortuary,” she said.
Ntombela described Ndobe as a servant of the people and a dedicated and a disciplined cadre who had served the movement at various levels previously, including as the Mayor of Harry Gwala District Municipality, SALGA Provincial Chairperson and an ANC and Youth League leader in the region for a number of years since Mzimkhulu was integrated to KwaZulu Natal.
“In all his responsibilities bestowed on him by the organization he remained an activist focused on turning the lives of our people for the better.
“He served the political education unit eloquently and diligently in ensuring that we build and mould a new cadre in the movement who understood their responsibilities in the new terrains of the struggle never forgetting the traditions of the Congress movement,” Ntombela said.
KZN legislature speaker Nontembeko Boyce also confirmed that Ndobe had been unwell for some time adding that his passing had robbed the KZN legislature and the country of an upright leader, a deep thinker and a dedicated servant of the people.
“In this hour of grief, we find comfort in that Mr Ndobe leaves a rich legacy for all of us to emulate. Mr Ndobe, a teacher by profession, joined the legislature at the beginning of the sixth term in 2019 after having successfully served as the Mayor of the Harry District Municipality.
“Because of his outstanding leadership traits, it did not take long for Mr Ndobe to ascend to the Legislature where he executed his role as Deputy Speaker with great diligence and passion, qualities which drew him admiration from across political party benches,” Boyce said.
She said that Ndobe, throughout his life, had performed extraordinary deeds in various domains in which he served, including the local sphere of government, Congress of South African Students (Cosas), the African National Congress Youth League and the African National Congress (ANC).
Boyce said that Ndobe belonged to a generation of leaders whose being was dedicated to serving the people with distinction, which explained his decision to continue serving the people of KwaZulu-Natal even during a time when he was gravely ill.
“He will be sorely missed for his ability to unite members of the legislature from across the political spectrum towards a common goal. He will be remembered for his love for education. “After obtaining his education degree, he continued to broaden his horizons and received an MBA at Mancosa. At the time of his passing he was reading towards his Doctorate at the University of KwaZulu-Natal,” said Boyce.
She added that details of Ndobe’s funeral would be communicated after the legislature had engaged with the Ndobe family.
Cosatu provincial secretary Edwin Mkhize said that Ndobe’s passing was a huge loss not only to Ndobe’s family but to the ANC, the provincial legislature and the entire KwaZulu-Natal province .
“Comrade Ndobe was one of the leaders who were really humble, down to earth, disciplined, an intelligent person who had critical thinking skills. Looking at those qualities makes his loss even more painful because leaders like him nowadays are rare.
“A lot of leaders, in the main, think that if you are a leader you should be pompous and arrogant. They tend to confuse arrogance with leadership but Ndobe was so humble, disciplined but also very firm and stood for what he believed in,” Mkhize said.
He added that although Ndobe faced legal woes in recent years, after he was accused of involvement in the murder of former ANC Youth League secretary general Sindiso Magaqa in 2017, the fact that the charges were provisionally withdrawn last year was proof that the whole matter was just hearsay.