About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Nkabinde, Sifiso

Political Activist, Provincial Legislator and Warlord

Sifiso Nkabinde was born in Richmond, KwaZulu-Natal. His father was a policeman and a local chairman of Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP). Nkabinde attended the local primary and secondary schools and matriculated in 1977. Between 1978 and 1981 he trained as a teacher at Ndaleni Teachers Training College.

During the 1980s Nkabinde started making inroads in the political arena. He became the chairman of DCO Mathewane youth organisation, and a member of the ANC's Self Defence Unit (SDU) in Richmond. Nkabinde allegedly spent time in Zimbabwe doing some work tasked by the ANC, but the organisation denies knowledge of this. After the unbanning of the ANC, Nkabinde was elected Chairman of the organisation's Richmond branch. This was followed by his election as the Secretary General of the ANC in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands region and becoming lieutenant to Harry Gwala who was the Chairman at that time.

In 1994 Nkabinde was elected as one of the ANC's provincial legislators. In an astonishing move during one of the legislature's debates he openly admitted to being a warlord, but asserted that, he  "was never the one who caused violence and would not apologise if I have defended people against their enemy I will never sacrifice my people" . Following a string of murder charges against him in 1997, Nkabinde was finally arrested. He was later acquitted on the grounds that there was not enough evidence to link him directly to the 18 murders alleged committed by members of his defence unit.

In 1997 Nkabinde was expelled from the ANC on suspicion of having been a spy for the former apartheid government. He denied the allegation stating that as an ANC populist he was becoming a threat in the Midlands branch of the party. He also felt that his alleged refusal to desist contesting the Chairmanship of the party was the cause for his expulsion. He was soon approached by the newly formed UDM to join its ranks, where he became the National Secretary General and Chairman of the movement in KwaZulu-Natal.

Nkabinde was shot and killed by unknown assassins on 23 January 1999.. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Source: www.sahistory.org.za

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.