The police in Mpumalanga have appealed to communities to help them track and arrest the murderers of the chairperson of the Ndzundza Mabhoko Tribal Council, Andries Mbangwa Mahlangu.

Mahlangu was fatally shot on Saturday evening.

The tiny village of Weltevrede in the former KwaNdebele woke up to the sad and shocking news on Sunday.

Mbangwa, as Mahlangu was popularly known, was a member of the Ndzundza Mabhoko Royal family.

He was allegedly shot dead outside his parents’ home while sitting in his car.

According to the police, two people were seen running away from the murder scene.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Leonard Hlathi, says the police were called to the scene only to find that Mahlangu had already passed on. Hlathi has appealed to all those who might have witnessed the incident or know something about it to assist the police in ensuring that the culprits end up behind bars.

“We are therefore calling on the public to assist us that anyone who knows about the senseless killing should approach us as soon as soon as possible so that we can bring those who are responsible to book,” he says.

Mahlangu was a well-known political figure in the former KwaNdebele homeland and later the Mpumalanga province. In the late 80s, he was detained several times by the apartheid police as he fought against Pretoria for granting the then KwaNdebele homeland independence. He ended up running away to the then Bophuthatswana independent homeland.

He returned to KwaNdebele after the government of the late George Majozi Mahlangu was voted out. When he met his untimely death, he had been involved in projects to rebuild the Ndzundza Royal Family, which was never the same after the death of both King Mayitjha the Third and his brother Prince James Senzangakhona Mahlangu.

The chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders, Ikosi Sipho Mahlangu, says Mahlangu was also playing a major role in efforts to unify the Ndzundza nation.

“Prince Andries Mahlangu leaves us in a very difficult position because he was one of those that were leading the unity programme that the Royal Family had started where he was unifying the Royal Family and also unifying the Ndzundza nation. He’s one of those that led during the struggle around 1986 where we were fighting against independence and the apartheid government. He left his position as a principal and became the secretary general of the Tribal Council,” says Ikosi Mahlangu.

Mahlangu’s memorial service will take place on Wednesday in Weltevrede and the burial will be on Thursday.