A dark cloud has fallen over Ugu District Municipality with two of its most senior leaders have died in the space of three days.

Newly appointed municipal manager (MM) Dr. Elliott Ntombela died in hospital last Saturday. Mayor Phumlile Mthiyane died suddenly on Monday this week.

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Dr Elliot Sibusiso Ntombela was employed as the Ugu District Municipal Manager at the time of his death.

Mthiyane began her reign as mayor of the district in November 2021. At that stage Ntombela was serving as the acting MM. Ntombela was admitted to a hospital in Richards Bay, where his family is based. He had gone to visit for the holidays as he was on leave.


He was in the hospital for just over two weeks. Mthiyane died at her home in Uvongo from a suspected heart attack. The municipality issued statements confirming the deaths.

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Mayor Phumlile Mthiyane died suddenly on Monday this week.

Mthiyane, who was born and raised in Izingolweni, KwaShobashobane, leaves behind five children. She served in many political structures over the years, including the youth and women’s leagues.

In 2011, she was sworn in as a councilor at Ezinqoleni Municipality.

In 2018, she became deputy mayor of Ugu and in December 2021 was elected mayor.
She had been in the position for only 14 months. Mthiyane is not the first Ugu mayor to die while in office. Tolomane Myayiza died in December 2016 and had been in office for only four months.

Mthiyane’s brother, Zakhele Shozi, said her death was ‘really painful’ for them.

“She would call me every day, I knew her every move as we were always talking.”

Mthiyane’s funeral service will be held at Ugu Sports and Leisure Centre this Sunday.
Mzwandile Mkhize, Ntombela’s brother-in-law, said the MM had been diagnosed with stage four cancer.

“He was admitted to the hospital on December 31. He was discharged after a few days but went back again because he was suffering from severe abdominal pain and was vomiting. The cancer was then discovered and he died less than three weeks after that.”

Mkhize said that despite the best efforts of doctors, who had started giving him treatment, there was nothing they could do as both his kidneys had been damaged.

Ntombela leaves behind his wife and three children (two boys and a girl).

He was officially appointed as the MM in October 2022, after being in the position in an acting capacity for over a year. He was laid to rest in Richards Bay yesterday.

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