Nkululeko Mkhize, a prominent businessman from KwaZulu-Natal, was shot dead during a shootout with the police at the luxurious Zimbali Estate on Wednesday.
The incident took place while the police were attempting to apprehend Mkhize and another man in connection with the recent Richards Bay shootings that claimed the lives of five individuals.
Mkhize, who was known for his involvement in the ‘tender mafia’ and faced allegations of links to a drug cartel, had been under the scrutiny of law enforcement agencies for some time.
The CEO of Ballito Estate, Francois Schoeman, expressed relief at the news of Mkhize’s demise, stating, “We’re aware that one of our residents was embroiled in a criminal case. It’s a relief that our estate is now free from such elements.”
During the COVID-19 lockdown in 2021, Mkhize made headlines when he gifted a staggering amount of R1.5 million in cash at a traditional bridal shower, known as “indishi,” in Ulundi. This extravagant display of wealth had raised eyebrows and sparked discussions about his sources of income.
Insiders have long hinted at Mkhize’s reputation as a key player in the ‘tender mafia,’ especially in his dealings with Transnet. His alleged involvement in corrupt practices had made him a controversial figure in the business world.
Colonel Robert Netshiunda, a police spokesperson, revealed that during the confrontation at Mkhize’s residence, six firearms and over a thousand rounds of ammunition were discovered.
“Our officers, leveraging intelligence, located suspects believed to be involved in Tuesday’s Richards Bay killings. Upon entering the residence, they faced immediate gunfire from the suspects,” he explained. “The police retaliated, resulting in two suspects, including Mkhize, succumbing to their injuries.”