Sibonelo Patrick Mpeku was the Chairperson of the local Sisonke Village branch of Abahlali baseMjondolo and a member of Abahlali’s KwaZulu/Natal Provincial Council.
On 2 December 2017, Sibonelo Patrick Mpeku was buried. The human rights defender was killed at around 11:00 pm on 19 November 2017, when he was forcibly taken from his shack and stabbed to death by unknown assailants in the informal settlement of Sisonke Village in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
The killing is believed to be a reprisal for his work defending human rights. The Sisonke Village branch of Abahlali baseMjondolo was created in November 2014, as a result of which, Sibonelo Patrick Mpeku received ongoing threats and harassment from individuals linked to local politicians.
Sibonelo Patrick Mpeku worked to defend the right of shack dwellers to basic services and political participation in Sisonke Village. Abahlali baseMjondolo is a grassroots movement of poor shack dwellers in Durban, Pinetown, Pietermaritzburg and other parts of the province and of the Western Cape.
The movement advocates for the rights of people living in shacks including access to decent housing, services and education. Its members have been the targets of ongoing intimidation and physical attacks due to corruption at the local political level. Since 2007, seven members of Abahlali baseMjondolo have been killed, including Sibonelo Patrick Mpeku.