KNYSNA NEWS - At a Knysna council meeting last week, councillor Victor Molosi of the ANC stood up and told council, “I can be very destructive if I want to be.”
He was arguing a specific item which he then forced to a vote. The ANC lost the vote, but Molosi had made his point – as he was so often wont to do during such meetings.
Molosi was a man revered by all members of council and by no means a man of straw, but rather decisive, exact, honest and straightforward -attributes that some say could have led to his death.
Last month, under his leadership, the ANC successfully tabled a motion of no confidence in former mayor, councillor Eleanor Bouw-Spies, and was instrumental in voting councillor Mark Willemse into the position of mayor. ANC caucus members under Molosi's leadership also ensured that the DA's vote of no confidence in Willemse failed when the ANC refused to vote.
Two weeks after Bouw-Spies left office, her former right-hand man, councillor Velile Waxa, was kicked out of council – also ostensibly by the ANC. Molosi's influence in local politics was unquestionable.
Willemse’s appointment delineated opposing factions in the town council more clearly. Fragile alliances were forged, and a power struggle emerged with DA members Peter Meyers, Willemse and some ANC caucus members in one camp and the remaining DA and independent councillors in the other.
A fateful night
According to a police report, Molosi had apparently been on his way from a school governing body meeting at Concordia High School around 22:00 when a gunman approached him, shot him several times and fled the scene. Molosi was hit in the head.
A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said it was quiet when the gunshots rang out.
“I ran outside and saw a man on the floor, clutching himself. He was still breathing. He was alive.”
In the commotion that followed, dozens of people came out of their houses, screaming and in shock. It is believed that the Concordia High school principal rushed Molosi to hospital, but he succumbed to his injuries.
The fact that there is no evidence of robbery has also fuelled speculation that the murder was executed by a "professional" killer or so-called hitman.
Show of solidarity
A crowd gathered outside the provincial hospital soon after the news of the shooting started spreading around town.
“People came in their nightgowns and pyjamas and huddled together in the parking area,” said an employee. “It was testament to how much Molosi meant to this community. People from different backgrounds, political affiliations and different spheres of life all mourned Victor Molosi.” Molosi's family's homes were inundated with family members, neighbours and community members, some coming from afar.
A sombre mood filled Knysna on Tuesday as residents started contemplating the unthinkable: a political murder in a small seaside village?
The split in council has caused widespread speculation that Molosi's murder was politically motivated. “There is no question, this was a political hit,” maintains DA councillor Peter Myers. Gripped by fear for their own lives, a number of councillors in Knysna went into hiding while others have security personnel outside their homes.
And it's not just councillors – municipal employees are also fearing for their lives, they say.
“It is an exceptionally sad day. We never thought this could happen in Knysna,” said Myers. “A lot has been happening in the Knysna council over the past few months, and as councillors we have no doubt this was politically motivated,” he said.
Mayor Mark Willemse said in a statement that he was "devastated by the loss of a colleague who selflessly served Greater Knysna with pride and dignity".
“We are privileged to have known and worked with Victor. He was a passionate contributor in council debates, advocating strongly on behalf of his party and the community he served. Our thoughts go out to his wife Nomonde Molosi and their four children. May his soul rest in peace.”
Western Cape community safety MEC Dan Plato did not mince his words when commenting. “I condemn in the strongest possible manner the shooting incident which took place in Knysna where a local ward councillor was killed mere metres from his home,” adding that no apparent motive or reasoning has been found for the murder. “I call on the SAPS in the province and crime intelligence to launch a full investigation.” He added that the investigation needs to confirm or refute the rumours that he received from community members that the murder was politically motivated.
Champion of the people
In a statement issued by ANC Western Cape provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs, he said that the ANC was shocked and saddened by the news.
“The ANC celebrates comrade Molosi, a cerebral and erudite comrade who always engaged with matters of the organisation calmly with less emotion. Comrade Molosi showed great knowledge on a wide variety of issues which served him well in the Knysna Municipality and had a measured temperament, ensuring that even in highly charged political issues of his community, he was able to deal with them rationally and factually.
“Comrade Molosi placed a great premium in serving those less served by the Knysna Municipality and championed their causes inside and outside the municipal council. He did not consider the poor an inconvenience in our inevitable march to a new and wealthy South Africa and certainly rejected any decision that made local government an executive branch of the bourgeoisie. In every single challenge that Victor Molosi's community faced, he was the face of it, ensuring that no community in Knysna is left behind,” Jacobs said.
Police ask assistance
No arrests have been made and the motive for the shooting at this stage is unknown. Police, who said an autopsy would be conducted during the week, are appealing to anyone with information to contact Warrant Officer Reginus Quine on 044 302 6652 or 082 791 7676. Or phone Crime Stop at 08600 10111. The police have also opened a special hotline where the community can anonymously provide information: 079 894 1605.
• Victor Molosi was ANC chief whip in the Knysna Municipality, ANC Southern Cape deputy regional secretary and he headed up mobilisation and training in the region.
• A special council meeting will be held on Thursday 26 July at 11:00 in honour of councillor Victor Molosi.
Read previous articles:
- Video: On the scene of the murder
- Update: Councillor shot outside his house
- ANC councillor shot outside his house
'We bring you the latest Knysna, Garden Route news'