Photo: DIRCO / GCIS
Photo: DIRCO / GCIS
This isn’t exactly what you’d call ‘diplomatic behaviour’: Bombshell reports from the Sudanese media have revealed that South Africa’s acting ambassador in Sudan is embroiled in a scarcely-believable assassination plot. Zabantu Ngcobo and her husband are alleged to have orchestrated the killing of two Sudanese citizens, with a third high-profile target in mind.
She is a serving delegate of the South African Embassy in Sudan, appointed to the role in an acting capacity. Zabantu Ngcobo has built up a reputation as ‘a close Embassy contact’ for international colleagues. She has previously worked with the Ahfad University for Women in the region, leading the celebrations for the 100-year anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.
She had also served as the Deputy Director at the Department of Foreign Affairs, and Ngcobo is one of the more senior representatives with DIRCO. Her mother is the late writer, literary figure, and activist, Lauretta Gloria Ngcobo. The diplomat had served in Burundi, before making the switch to Sudan.
It has been reported that Ngcobo hired two local residents in Khartoum to carry out the killing of two innocent women. The victims were lured back to the diplomat’s residence, and they were subsequently murdered by their accomplices. The nature of the crime itself is vile, with police originally believing the dismembered bodies were part of a Satanic ritual.
However, the motivation behind this abhorrent murder seems to be firmly entrenched in an assassination plot. The men who killed the first two victims were arrested back in December. One suspect, a 25-year-old driver from Eritrea, revealed that Zabantu Ngcobo had used this initial attack to ‘prepare the pair for a political killing’ – that of SA’s intelligence officer at the Embassy in Sudan.
The Daily Maverick has been told that Ngcobo wanted the official out of the picture, as he was sending home negative reports about the acting ambassador’s conduct. However, the killers she had employed to do her dirty work were captured before they could ‘graduate’ from their training drill, and bump-off the serving South African diplomat.
As it stands, both Zabantu Ngcobo and her husband are in South Africa, under the watchful eyes of authorities. We contacted DIRCO for a response, and although they acknowledged the issue is being investigated, the department was not willing to elaborate while the probe is ongoing. Certainly, this is one to watch going forward…