Former councillor shot dead at home

Depoutch Elese

Controversial former Crossroads ANC councillor, Depoutch Elese, was shot dead on Tuesday evening.

He and his wife were ambushed as they entered their home in the area.

His wife survived the attack and was rushed to hospital. The motive for the killing is unknown. Mr Elese stepped down as a councillor two years ago, after 20 years at the helm and was a member of the Provincial Executive Committee of the ANC at the time of his death.

Mr Elese’s reign as a councillor had been shrouded in controversy. The charismatic councillor had been suspected of numerous assassinations in and around Crossroads. He had also been accused of intimidating his challengers. In 2015 he was found guilty of pointing a firearm at a woman. His death sent shockwaves through ANC circles and the community.

In a statement issued to the media, provincial ANC Secretary, Faiez Jacobs, described the deceased as “a warrior who daily toiled to make the lives of the residents of this province better”. He labelled Mr Elese as a “humble and honest bearer of the interests of the poor”, saying the party was saddened by his death.

“Comrade Depoutch was resilient, patient, and had an indomitable spirit. He did not stand for those so well served by the present conditions at the expense of others, he became involved in developing young people in his community, he raised money for the poor in his community and he continued to fight for others to get a better deal out of life,” read the statement.

Spokesperson for the Dullah Omar region and Ward 39 councillor, Khaya Yozi, said the shooting and killing of prominent people in the area was a big concern. He mentioned the brutal killing of DA councillor, Xolile Gwangxu, last year and the murder of Charles Kanku, as some of the most recent cases.

He called for police to act and ensure perpetrators were brought to book. “It is worrying for us as a region that no arrests are being made on these cases,” he said.

Mr Yozi said Mr Elese left a lasting legacy with a number of community development projects, including the N2 housing project currently under way.

“We are saddened and shocked by his death and the fact that his wife was also affected by this,” he said.

Nyanga station commander, Brigadier Vuyisile Ncata, said a police investigation was under way.

He said the deceased and his wife had been attacked by “two unknown boys” as they were entering their home. “They were both rushed to hospital, and that is where he died,” said Brigadier Ncata.